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Former Suns owner Jerry Colangelo: Dan Majerle is ‘a lunch bucket guy’

LISTEN: Jerry Colangelo, Chairman of Team USA basketball

On the night Dan Majerle was inducted into the Phoenix Suns “Ring of Honor” back in March 2003, then-owner and chairman Jerry Colangelo beamed as he talked about one of his favorite former players.

“When you think of Dan Majerle, you think of a guy who gave maximum effort in every game, every practice, in everything he did,” Colangelo said.

Those intangibles not only made Majerle an asset on the court, but also as an assistant coach with the organization for five-plus seasons.

It’s the reason many were surprised in January that Majerle was passed over by the Suns in favor of Lindsey Hunter for the interim head coaching position.

While Thunder Dan’s number wasn’t called in Phoenix, his former boss was more than happy to give a glowing review of the former All-Star on Arizona Sports 620’s Doug & Wolf Monday.

“Dan Majerle is a working class guy from Michigan,” Colangelo said. “He’s a lunch-bucket guy, that’s who he really is. The doctors (before the draft) told us to stay away from him because of his bad back and the pins in his ankles.

“What they didn’t tell us is about his heart. He overcame all of those obstacles through hard work, commitment, toughness, all of the intangibles you look for in athletes. That’s who Majerle is.”

While there are very few remnants left from Colangelo’s days (1968-2004) with the organization, the founding father of the Suns said he hopes the team’s rebuilding process is a rather short one.

“I’m hoping for the best for them,” said Colangelo, now chairman of USA Basketball. “I gave birth to the franchise. I love the franchise. I hate to see them lose any games. I hate to see any of the negativity that’s taken place.

“I’m hoping this ends quickly and that they can turn this thing around.”