Phoenix Community Comes Together for Official Suns NBA Draft Viewing Party

by Cody Cunningham

The 2018 NBA Draft was one of the most historic moments in Phoenix Suns’ history as Deandre Ayton was selected with franchise’s first-ever number one overall pick. The night featured excitement for the future, unexpected trades and expert analysis as the fans who attended the Official Suns NBA Draft Viewing Party were able to share the experience together.

“Last year’s draft party was one of the coolest events I’ve ever been to,” Suns VP of Ticket Sales and Service Kyle Pottinger said. “To watch the entire building be jammed pack with Suns fans with over 10,000 people actually in the building and the eruption we saw when Deandre Ayton was announced was special. It still gives me goosebumps talking about it now.”

The anticipation had been building for months around the first overall pick and as the programming began, each and every Suns fan in attendance was locked in on the future of the organization. 

“With the first pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Phoenix Suns select Deandre Ayton.” 

The crowd erupted in cheers as people flew from their seats in excitement towards the newest member of the Suns family.

“It was incredibly special to experience it,” Suns broadcaster Tom Leander said. “To feel the energy and passion for Suns basketball in the arena on draft night was really special to be a part of.”

History was made, but the night had just begun for Arizona’s original professional sports franchise. The Suns were on the clock again at pick 16 as they proceeded to make one of the biggest moves of the draft. The team executed a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers to acquire the draft rights of the 10th overall pick in Mikal Bridges. Once again, Talking Stick Resort Arena rose to another level of thrill.

“Just seeing the reaction,” Leander said. “It’s reminiscent of a reaction in a playoff game when the Suns hit a big shot or win a playoff game. All of a sudden, fans come together and you can see that unity and how the NBA can bond people from different walks of life together.” 

That unity is exactly what these events are designed for as Suns fans are able to come together and share their excitement for the future with one another.

“These are memories that will last a lifetime,” Pottinger said. “For those people who shared in that moment, it’s something that I hope they never forget. From people who are season ticket members and get to come to all the games to those people who are potentially new to Phoenix and are coming out for the first time, it is a really galvanizing moment for everybody to unite. Creating those situations, creating those moments is a major point of emphasis from our marketing team to our sales team to our public relations team and really everybody throughout the organization.”

The Suns hold the sixth pick in this year’s draft and excitement builds as speculation grows on who the organization is going to select. The sixth pick holds a lot of mystery and will surely keep everyone guessing. Phoenix Suns fans can take part of the draft frenzy and witness who NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announces at the Official Suns Draft Viewing Party at Talking Stick Resort Arena. 

“When they come out this year, it’s going to be a great time,” Pottinger said. “When we get to draft night in the NBA, it’s always a special night as we watch the next generation of stars come out of college and start to make their way in the NBA. It will be a very fan-focused event, a very basketball-focused event as we start looking ahead to the future of the Suns and what this young team can grow into as we work towards an NBA Championship.” 

The night will feature special player appearances from Mikal Bridges and Ring of Honor Members Alvan Adams and Walter Davis. In addition to watching the NBA Draft broadcast alongside fellow Suns fans, attendees will receive unique insights into the draft process. Suns broadcasters Tom Leander Tim Kempton will be joined by 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Doug Franz to emcee the fan-friendly event.

“I think that’s going to put a different spin on the feedback and information that the fans are going to get going into the draft,” Leander said. “Doug is very passionate about basketball and the Suns. Over the years he’s had his intense feelings about who the Suns should draft and it will be nice to have a fresh voice on stage at the draft party. I’m looking forward to hearing who he’d like the Suns to draft.”

The Official Suns NBA Draft Viewing Party will feature discounted concessions including $1 hot dogs, popcorn and soda along with $2 water and nachos, and fans can visit the Suns Team Shop to score an official 2019 Suns Draft Cap for $35.99. All fans in attendance will also have a chance to win a number of Suns prize-packs, including official NBA Draft gear and autographed merchandise. 

“Fans, come out,” Pottinger said. “We need the support. This is an opportunity for the city to once again come together and celebrate a new player joining our Suns family. There’s going to be a ton going on, ton of activities, ton of excitement.” 

Doors open at 3:30 with programming beginning at 4 p.m., but the Suns encourage fans to come down early as it will be the first time to experience the organization’s new mobile ticketing.

“People will access their draft party tickets on their mobile device,” Pottinger said. “Once again, a move by our organization to be that much more fan-friendly and make it that much easier to get into the building. It should be a great night for us to welcome that new addition to the family.” 

The viewing party is free and open to the public, but tickets will be required for entry and fans can reserve their spot by visiting Suns.com/DraftParty.

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