Suns fans’ boos couldn’t ruin Dan Majerle’s NBA Draft experience

May 6, 2020, 6:15 AM

Dan Majerle interviews with Doug & Wolf on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Matt Layman/Arizona Sports)...

Dan Majerle interviews with Doug & Wolf on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Matt Layman/Arizona Sports)

(Matt Layman/Arizona Sports)

Most Phoenix Suns fans know the story of Dan Majerle’s introduction to his first NBA team.

Soon after the Suns selected Majerle in the 1988 NBA Draft out of Central Michigan, coach Cotton Fitzsimmons took to the podium in front of a live crowd. Boos directed toward the team’s decision interrupted his address.

“I cannot help how you feel,” Fitzsimmons said over the crowd. “All I can tell you is this: We couldn’t be happier and I think all you people will be sorry that you ever booed this young man.”

Majerle would only hear of the boos after the fact. And by the time he learned of what happened, none of it mattered.

“I was sitting in the basement of my house in Traverse City with my parents and I could’ve cared less,” he told Doug & Wolf of Arizona Sports. “I had no idea. The story goes, when Milwaukee was picking at 13, they had guaranteed me they were going to take me at 13, so I was just sitting just there (thinking) I’m going to go at 13.

“They took a kid named Jeff Grayer, who was actually from Flint, Michigan, who went to Iowa State. After they picked him, I was like, well, I have no idea where I’m going now. I hadn’t talked to the Phoenix Suns at all. I had one interview with a lady who gave me a test on the phone the night before.”

Majerle got lucky he didn’t have to wait out being selected. The Suns drafted him with the very next pick, at 14th overall.

That quickly erased any chance of building negative feelings after the Bucks passed over Majerle despite their promise. His family taking in the news made that detail and the boos from his new team’s fans just footnotes from Majerle’s perspective.

“When they called my name, I didn’t even know how to spell Phoenix. I had never been out West, but I was just so happy that I was drafted,” Majerle said. “The thing that I’ll remember the most is I looked around and my dad wasn’t down in the basement. My dad was a single-chair barber, worked his whole life from 6 a.m. to 8 in the night. I walked up in the kitchen and my dad was balling. I’d never seen my dad cry, never seen that kind of emotion. To me that said it all, to have that kind of experience with your parents.

“They could boo me all they want. I knew I could change everybody’s mind ’cause that’s what I’ve always done.”

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