Arizona Sports Face-Off: More painful, Nash or Barkley?

Jul 10, 2012, 11:04 PM | Updated: Jul 11, 2012, 6:34 am

Steve Nash left the Suns for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Yeah, that stings.

Once the shock of Nash’s departure wore off, we got to
thinking: was his departure the most painful for Valley
sports fans?

And of course, once we got to thinking about that, it was
only natural to make it the topic of this week’s Arizona
Sports Face-Off.

Vince Marotta:
Steve Nash
Green: Charles Barkley
Steve Nash leaving
the Phoenix Suns following eight great years in Phoenix
had all the makings of an amicable breakup. The Suns
wanted to move on, and Nash, while disappointed by it,

But Los Angeles, Steve? Ouch. That stings.

And the fact that Nash and his agent Bill Duffy
practically begged Robert Sarver and company to make the
trade to L.A. happen hurts even worse.

When you grow up a Suns fan, you’re conditioned to hate
the Los Angeles Lakers. It doesn’t matter that L.A. fans
don’t necessarily hate the Suns, WE HATE THE LAKERS!!!
Resigning ourselves to the fact that Nash was moving on
was hard enough, but if he’s in Toronto or New York, who
cares? He’ll play in Phoenix once a year for the next
three years, and we’ll all stand and cheer his return.

The only thing that could have been more painful is if
Nash had announced to Jim Gray on some cockamamie ESPN
special that he was “taking his talents to Hollywood”.

Charles Barkley’s exit hurt, because it was his arrival
that marked the birth of the Suns as a big-time player in
the NBA. But Charles’ adoption of the scorched earth
philosophy on his way out of town made his departure a lot
easier to accept.

Now, Suns fans will see Nash at least four times a year,
and will most likely watch him win a ring with the enemy.

Yup, that’s gonna leave a mark.

Steve Nash joining the Lakers was shocking, yes, but it
isn’t particularly painful. Charles Barkley’s joining the
Rockets, on the other hand, was.

Don’t get me wrong, it will not be fun to see Nash playing
in that ugly yellow jersey. But while I dislike the
Lakers, they aren’t the Suns’ biggest rival — especially
in the Nash era. That title would belong to the Spurs.

The Rockets, on the other hand, were Barkley’s rival. His
nemesis. The team that haunted my dreams.

Seeing Barkley end his career playing with the very guys
who prevented the Suns from winning a title wasn’t right.
And yes, the Suns should have won at least one
championship in the mid-90s, and would have if not for
some serious choke jobs by Barkley’s Suns.

So, not only did Barkley abandon the Suns, but he teamed
up with the very team that knocked them out of the
playoffs in two of Sir Charles’ four seasons in the

Nash, on the other hand, played the last eight seasons in
Phoenix — and 10 overall — giving the Valley all it
could ask for. He left a lottery team. Barkley left with
unfinished business.

In fact, this entire debate makes me remember how
upsetting Barkley’s departure was, and now I’m angry once
again. So thanks, Chuck, for only forcing me to remember
what it was like to watch your team lose to the Rockets in
the mid-90s, but also recall how disturbing the entire
situation was.

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Arizona Sports Face-Off: More painful, Nash or Barkley?