Tyler Johnson to Host Military Families for Veteran's Day

Tyler Johnson
by Cody Cunningham

The Phoenix Suns will be celebrating Veterans Day with Military Appreciation Night on Sunday as the team honors active and retired members of the armed services. Not only is this an important cause to the organization, but it also hits close to home inside the Suns locker room.

Tyler Johnson spent the majority of his childhood moving from one military base to another with his mother being a member of the U.S. Air Force. He witnessed firsthand the challenges, the battles and the rewards of her sacrifices to be a hero in her child’s eyes.

“You have to have such a mental stability and strength,” Johnson said. “You can’t have those days where you come in hazy or a little bit off or down. You might have them, but you have to put them aside because there’s literally people’s lives on the line that depend on you.”

Johnson was able to take lessons and learn from the experiences he had as a child with a parent in the military and apply them later in his life and throughout his NBA journey.

“It teaches you that nothing lasts forever,” Johnson said. “You think that your life is going to be one way for so long and then you have to be able to adapt to different environments. From a young age we moved so much. When we get here, the NBA, we go place to place to place to place. That change isn't really new to me.”

Now, as a key member of the Suns, Johnson is giving back to those same type of families that he grew up with. Johnson will be hosting TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) families in an all-exclusive suite during the Suns matchup against the Nets on Sunday. 

“I grew up on a military base,” Johnson said. “Growing up, those were the families that I knew. We heard a lot of stories about people coming back and not being all the way there. We weren't able to have a lot of friends growing up because every two years people get shuffled around. So, I think it is important to be able to give back to those people who sacrifice so much.”

The night itself with have discounted tickets for active and retired military personnel at 50 percent off, but Johnson wanted to go beyond that to include the families of those in the armed services as well. 

“The thing is it's not just one person in the military,” Johnson said. “The whole family pretty much is in it because it's not like you can really break off your family. When somebody has to go, the whole family goes and that's usually why I think military families end up being a lot closer in some aspects because they only have each other. Whenever they move it takes a while for them to adapt to new places, new cultures, new communities. I think it is very important to give back.”

TAPS provides immediate and long-term emotional help, hope and healing to all grieving the death of a loved in military service to America, no matter the cause of death.  For 25 years, since 1994, TAPS has served more than 90,000 surviving military family members and their caregivers across the nation. Following the game, Johnson will take photos, sign autographs and spend time with those families that he shares a strong bond and connection with.

Johnson was undrafted out of Fresno State in 2014, but the now-five-year NBA veteran feels it’s his obligation and responsibility to give back to those in the community, especially with a cause that hits so close to home. 

“I'm very humbled by it,” Johnson said. “I remember being a young kid and when they do things for those communities and for the people on base, it means a lot because we don't really have like a normal childhood in comparison to a lot of other people. So, those moments become even bigger.”

 

PHOENIX SUNS TO CELEBRATE VETERANS DAY WITH MILITARY APPRECIATION NIGHT ON NOVEMBER 10

The Suns will honor our nation’s armed forces and celebrate Veterans Day with Military Appreciation Night on Sunday, Nov. 10 when the team hosts the Brooklyn Nets at Talking Stick Resort Arena at 6 p.m.  Active and retired military personnel will receive a discount of 50 percent off tickets, and can also take advantage of a 15 percent discount in the Suns Team Shop with a valid military ID during the game. Visit Suns.com/Military for tickets.

In celebration of Military Appreciation Night, active duty personnel will be featured in a number of in-game tributes, activities and contests and Suns entertainment teams will wear military-themed attire throughout the game.  Military vehicles will be on display on the Fry’s Plaza, and fans can visit the Casino Arizona Pavilion to enter to win an NBA Hoops for Troops basketball autographed by the entire 2019-20 Suns team.

To honor all who have served, military members from will be introduced alongside a member of the Suns starting lineup during player introductions, and military personnel will hold a court-sized American flag during the playing of the national anthem by Phoenix Army Recruiting battalion, Master Sergeant Geno Nash. 

As part of Military Appreciation Night, the Suns will host their annual “Holiday Cards for Troops” campaign, sponsored by Navy Federal Credit Union, to provide Suns fans with the opportunity to share a special message to servicemen and women overseas during the holiday season. Fans in attendance are encouraged to visit the holiday card table inside the Casino Arizona Pavilion from 4 – 6 p.m.

In addition to the 50 percent ticket discount for Military Appreciation Night, the Suns also offer all active duty and retired military a discount of up to 30 percent off ticket prices for all regular season home games. The discount can be redeemed online at Suns.com/Military or at the Talking Stick Resort Arena box office.

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