Eric Bledsoe Finds Voice, Embraces Role as Suns' Leader

Eric Bledsoe is back in action to begin his fourth season with the Suns, but this time around, he’s got a revamped mindset thanks to an offseason of personal reinvention.

“I’ve seen a different person in Bled,” Head Coach Earl Watson said. “His spirit, his character, his transparency, and just as a basketball player. He grew.”

At just 26 years old, Bledsoe has become the leader of a young Phoenix team and this summer he took significant steps forward in that process. He began working with a life coach as part of an evolution to step outside his comfort zone. She assisted him in speaking out more and communicating better with his teammates.

“Bled is just Bled,” Watson said. “He walks around with the biggest smile on his face and it lights up the room.”

Watson has helped Bledsoe improve his leadership skills on and off the court as well. The coach instructed Bledsoe to read “The Carpenter” by Jon Gordon, which focuses on three things: love, service and care. “That sounds like a point guard to me,” Watson said.

“It helped me be more caring,” Bledsoe said about the novel. “I’ve always cared about my teammates, but it’s about being vocal and letting them know I care about them… not just on the basketball court.”

For being known as a quiet guy throughout his career, Bledsoe’s teammates have also noticed the change in his persona. “He’s just opening up, being more vocal, speaking more,” Brandon Knight said. “Really just being there for guys.”

As the person many of the younger Suns look to for guidance, Bledsoe can sense the change trickling down and affecting the rest of the roster.

“It’s carrying over,” he said. “Everybody is picking each other up and having each other’s back out there on the court.”

Whether it’s planning trips and activities to build camaraderie, taking on a new book, or working with his life coach, Bledsoe plans to continue to build meaningful relationships with his teammates as the season unfolds.

“People will trust you a lot more if you show them you care about them besides basketball,” Bledsoe said. “It’s deeper.”