Suns Legends Paul Westphal & Jeff Hornacek Check In With Hoops Fans on Valley Chatz, Brought to you by Firstbank

by Sean Gale

A pair of former Phoenix Suns guards and head coaches joined broadcaster Tom Leander in the latest installment of Valley Chatz, brought to you by FirstBank, as Suns Ring of Honor member Paul Westphal and All-Star guard Jeff Hornacek made a special appearance to discuss living in Phoenix, the best shooters in Suns franchise history and more.

The newest Valley Chatz episode will premiere on Sunday, May 17 at 6:30 p.m. (PT) on Suns.com/now and FOX Sports Arizona, the team’s exclusive local television station, prior to “Sunsday” at 7 p.m.

Before talking hoops, Hornacek provided an update on how his family has been holding up during quarantine and talked about enjoying some quality time with his kids and new grandson. His daughter Abby, who is a rising media star and serves as a television host on FOX Nation, also made a brief cameo during the conversation.

Hornacek was selected by the Suns with the 46th overall pick in the second round of the 1986 NBA Draft and ultimately carved out a 14-year career in the Association, in large part due to his elite shooting ability. During the discussion, he gives credit to Phoenix’s all-time leading scorer Walter Davis, Hall of Famer Jerry Colangelo and his wife, Stacy, for helping him fine-tune the jumper that allowed him to enjoy as much success as he did in the NBA. 

During his six-year stint in the Valley as a player, Hornacek grew into a key contributor on a contender following the additions of Kevin Johnson, Tom Chambers, Eddie Johnson and Mark West in the late 1980s under the direction of Suns Ring of Honor member Cotton Fitzsimmons.  Interestingly enough, Hornacek fondly remembers heated 1-on-1 battles before practice between two Suns assistant coaches: Paul Westphal and Lionel Hollins.

“We would stretch every morning and Paul and Lionel would be playing 1-on-1 down at one of the baskets,” said Hornacek. “They were fresh out of the league, and they would argue about fouls and get after it.”

One day, when the coaches didn’t play their customary game of 1-on-1, Hornacek and the rest of the team asked what happened to the daily competition.

“They said, ‘Well, our wives told us we couldn’t play because we kept arguing when we went out for dinners.’”

The story was confirmed by Westphal, who also validated Hornacek’s claim that their wives put an end to the 1-on-1 contests (and the ensuing arguments). 

Leander and “Westy” then chatted about the latter’s laundry list of basketball achievements, headlined by his induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September 2019. 

“I was so blessed, Tom. It’s unbelievable to do what I loved to do for as long as I did,” said Westphal. “Those honors are incredible icing on the cake, but I honestly never did it for the honors. It was just great to be able to play and coach that long.”

Fans are encouraged to check out Suns.com/now to discover upcoming Valley Chatz guests and submit questions for the discussion, providing a forum to glean insight from Suns and Mercury personalities about the things fans want to hear about.  Tom Leander will lead the conversations with special quests that will provide updates and commentary on a wide array of topics.

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