Sunburst Back at Center Court on Newly Designed Floor
by Matt Petersen

No matter what the name has been – Veterans Memorial Coliseum, America West Arena, United Airways Center, or upcoming Talking Stick Resort Arena – the building that houses professional Phoenix basketball has been referred to as “the home of the Suns.”

The images of that home have changed, as would any that has housed multiple generations of the same family. The team logo was redesigned three times. Its basic nature was always the same, though: a streaking sun, indicating pace, flair and movement toward something more.

The Suns are one of just 12 teams to have never changed their original city or name, but their arena will feel a little more like home this season. After a decade-plus hiatus, the sunburst is back at center court.

Suns players and their opponents could count on one certainty each and every game for decades: starting the game with a jump ball at the center of Phoenix’s current sunburst logo. It was an iconic mainstay through each era, from Dick Van Arsdale to Alvan Adams to Kevin Johnson to Jason Kidd.

The look underwent unavoidable changes of time. It started simple…

Got bolder…

…welcomed in a new era…

…further embraced that new era…

…then briefly became a phoenix/bird version of itself while the Nash-led Suns flew up and down the court.

This latest edition welcomes back the return of the timeless sunburst, sized just big enough to be the dominant feature but not so big it seems cartoonish. It makes you want to sigh, smile and say “welcome back.”

Other key elements worth noting:

  • Purple is back. Its reappearance is subtle, but it’s also everywhere – every line, to be specific. The three-point arc, key, free throw lanes and markers and bench area boundaries – all previously black – now sport the second iconic color of Suns history and Arizona sunsets. Purple is, for obvious reasons, near and dear to the Suns fan’s heart. After missing it for a couple years, it’s good to see it back on the hardwood.
  • Scientists say matter can be moved, but can’t simply disappear, and that appears to be the relationship between center-court and the baselines. The previous “SUNS” that paraded across half-court is no longer there, but it has been attached to the “PHOENIX” that stood alone at both ends the last three years. Now “PHOENIX SUNS”, it reads in the Suns’ official italic font instead of standing upright. There’s something a little liberating about the baseline name stretching out a little bit, as opposed tucking in its elbows and sitting tight in the middle.
  • The official theme for the 2015-16 season is “We Are PHX,”, and the Suns saw a golden opportunity to emphasize that where it matters most. The “bottom” sideline out-of-bounds area was previously empty, but now sports the current theme with a fun white-then-orange contrast that really pops out from the black.
  • Phoenix kept the two-toned wood, lighter outside the three-point arc, darker inside. You have to be picky, indeed, to greatly prefer one over the other, but there you go.



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