Espo: 'Seven Seconds or Less' is now ancient history
Published: January 09, 2011 @ 9:06pm
New York Knicks' Amare Stoudemire, right, shakes hands with Phoenix Suns' Steve Nash prior to the start of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 7, 2011, in Phoenix. Stoudemire is back in Phoenix with his new team after leaving the Suns for the Knicks. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
I never thought much about the fact that my copy of Jack McCallum's in-depth look at the 2005-06 Phoenix Suns, Seven Seconds or Less, sat on the shelf next to a book about the Roman empire and one about the reign of Julius Caesar. Now it seems apropos because as of Friday evening, all three can be found in the ancient history section of your local bookstore.
As I watched the Suns play former power forward Amar'e Stoudemire and coach Mike D'Antoni's New York Knicks Friday night, it became abundantly clear that the moniker seven seconds or less no longer referred to the offensive style the team played but rather the amount of time fans could go without being disgusted by something they saw on the court.
The game proved to be a lot like an awkward high school reunion where you realize your ex has become much hotter and more successful than you remember. Stoudemire and D'Antoni's new team looked like a well oiled machine ready to dominate a Suns' team that looked disinterested at times.
The Suns somehow had become Bizarro from Superman. A creature that possessed the opposite powers of their former super selves. Somehow Planet Orange had become the antithesis of what it once was. It was now a world where the Suns were no longer the faster, better, more skilled and more athletic team. They'd become everything they once stood against and lost the ability to make basketball fun. Think about the last time you saw Steve Nash smile in that boyish way of his, and APS commercials don't count. In the meantime, their former coach and star had turned the once basement dwelling Knicks into a mirror image of the old team that called US Airways Center home for the last six years.
It's not just the game against the Knicks though. The Suns have struggled to reach the century mark since trading their leading scorer, Jason Richardson, to Orlando. In exchange they received players unaccustomed to their fast paced style and more familiar with a physical defensive minded game. Planet Orange seems to be slowly dying and the trade may prove to be the point of no return.
Even Sunday's game against one of the league's worst, the Cleveland Cavaliers, a game that once would have been a cake walk for the talented team, proved to be a back and forth affair and was tied heading into the fourth quarter. In a game against a poor defensive team, the Suns only managed to score 108 points. They won by eight points pulling away late but in years past they probably would have dropped 120 points on an inferior team without a true star.
Like the Romans proved, every great empire will eventually crumble and apparently now is that time for the Seven Seconds or Less Suns. Someday we will tell our kids about the years Nash, Stoudemire, Marion, Hill, Diaw and others thrilled us with their fast paced and high flying antics. We'll tell them about how they made the sport fun again after years of slow, mythical and plodding offense ruled the league. We'll show them our Nash and Amar'e jerseys as if they were some great artifact of a golden age long since past and we'll point to McCallum's work as if it's a textbook because that's what we do with ancient history. Now, the Suns we once knew are in that same category.