Suns News

’Original Sun’ Van Arsdale Suffers Stroke

According to Suns chairman Jerry Colangelo, Van Arsdale was in good health and working out every day before suffering a stroke on Saturday.
(Jeramie McPeek/Suns Photos)
By Jerry Brown
East Valley Tribune
Nov. 20, 2005

Dick Van Arsdale, "The Original Sun" and the team's senior executive vice president, suffered a stroke Saturday morning and was recuperating Sunday at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn hospital.

Van Arsdale's daughter Jill said her father began feeling badly during the night. His wife, Barbara, drove him at about 6:30 a.m. Saturday to the hospital, where the stroke was diagnosed.

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“His motor skills are OK; he's walking around and he still has a strong handshake," Jill Van Arsdale said. "But the MRI shows damage to the speech center of his brain and he will have a long road ahead relearning some things — from talking to getting dressed in the morning."

Suns chairman Jerry Colangelo said Van Arsdale, 62, was in good health "and still worked out every day" prior to the stroke. "It just goes to show you never know what the next day will bring," he said.

Van Arsdale has been with the Suns since their inception in 1968, when he was taken from the New York Knicks with Phoenix's first selection in the expansion draft. "The Flying Dutchman" scored the first point in franchise history and 12,059 more in a Suns uniform — he still ranks third on the all-time franchise scoring list — before retiring after the 1976-77 season.

Van Arsdale served as an interim coach for the final 26 games of the 1986-87 season, leading Phoenix to a 14-12 record. He served 15 years as a TV color analyst and was named the team's vice president of player personnel in 1987. He was one of the charter members of the Suns Ring of Honor, along with Alvan Adams, Connie Hawkins and Paul Westphal in 1999.

COPYRIGHT 2005, EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE. Used with permission.