EMPIRE OF THE SUNS

Suns fan speaks on if he is following through on a face tattoo after Ayton’s 3

Jul 24, 2020, 12:44 AM | Updated: 10:11 pm

You know when someone makes a really dumb bet on an outcome they think will never ever happen, so they’re super audacious about it, but then it explodes in their face?

Social media turns the notch up a few levels on those with the receipts, and the Phoenix Suns had one of those instances explode Thursday night.

Andrew Lozoya, or @AndrewLeezus as you’ll know him on Twitter, is one of the biggest Suns fans you’ll ever see in the space. He’s born and raised in Phoenix and is ride or die with the squad, part of a very passionate Suns fanbase on the platform.

It’s to the point where he will tweet something like this and everyone knows he could be serious.

Seriously. Look at the replies. Suns Twitter is trying to talk him out of it. “Delete it before it’s too late!”

“I tweet whatever’s on my mind and I deal with the repercussions later,” Lozoya joked about the tweet.

About that.

Lozoya, 22, is one of the many fans particularly excited with the development of second-year center Deandre Ayton, but one development we haven’t seen just yet is Ayton’s three-point shot.

Ayton adding that range on his jumper would open up loads of space for the Suns offense and make their franchise center a true inside-outside threat.

“It’s just so important in the modern NBA to have someone like him who can space the floor,” Lozoya said.

“He has to shoot them or else we’ve seen before in games where they just leave him because they know he’s not looking to shoot. He’s just looking to hand the ball off.”

Given how comfortably Ayton takes the mid-range jumper and that he attempted a three-pointer a game at the University of Arizona, the thought was that it was coming.

It has just taken longer than expected.

Despite Ayton sounding like he’s ready to unleash that part of the game, he hasn’t quite gotten to doing it in games yet. The Suns said they aren’t restricting him, so it’s been on Ayton to decide when.

“We both know Deandre says a lot of things and sometimes it doesn’t always happen,” Lozoya said.

“I’m thinking, ‘This kid has been saying this for two years. He’s not going to shoot a three.'”

To Ayton’s credit, he’s been waiting while the form on his jumper has improved. Head coach Monty Williams noted there’s been better arc on it in Orlando.

So, that led to Williams encouraging Ayton to take them when defenders back off, and it happened Thursday night in the team’s first scrimmage.

And he made it.

See what I mean? Great arc! Oh, right, back to Andrew.

It speaks to the type of fan Lozoya is that his first reaction while live-tweeting the game was how amped he was for Ayton hitting the three, not that he had previously made an incredible mistake.

“I saw my phone and it says I have 20-plus notifications, I’m like, ‘Wait, what’s up? What happened?'” he said, momentarily forgetting his face-tat tweet.

What happened was the Suns did as Lozoya asked in keeping the screenshot, and fired it back to him right after the bucket.

“It went from joy to like anxiety,” he said, thinking of having to live up to the bet.

The Suns’ tweet led to Lozoya’s blowing up even more and going viral beyond the Suns world. From SportsNation’s 5.5 million followers on Twitter to Bleacher Report’s 13 million on Instagram, it is everywhere.

Ayton himself was tagged on that Instagram post by Luka Doncic, which was another freakout moment for Lozoya, who became a big fan of Doncic’s game when it was a possibility he could get picked No. 1 by the Suns in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Instead, it was Ayton, and the ripple effect for Lozoya has led to a face tat.

Right?

“My dad would disown me if I got a tattoo,” Lozoya said, who as you can guess by that quote does not have any tattoos.

So, yes, that does present a problem to following through.

To be fair to Lozoya, he did reply at the time of the tweet on Saturday that scrimmage games weren’t going to count.

Lozoya has been able to use social media to connect with his favorite Suns players in a way that shines through the organic qualities of the medium.

Through hype videos, his own music and other ways of expressing his fandom, he’s had interactions with Ayton, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Devin Booker, to the point where some of them follow Lozoya on Twitter and show him love like he does for them.

Lozoya is one of the many Suns fans who feel like those three represent their generation in a way with the #ValleyBoyz movement Ayton and Oubre started.

“Kelly Oubre changed the culture here in Phoenix,” Lozoya said. “He brought a swagger to the city, to the team.

“It builds an identity and every great team needs an identity. But it’s more than that, it’s the community. It’s more than basketball. We’re in this state together, we’re in this city together. We’ve got each other’s back.”

When he spoke with Arizona Sports, Lozoya had just gotten done playing “Call of Duty: Warzone” with Booker, his brother Davon and Mikal Bridges.

Booker was jabbing at Lozoya about the potential face tat during the stream of the games, just like anyone else would.

“They’re all genuine dudes,” he said of getting to know the players. “They’re all great people.”

To take it back to the tattoo, Lozoya is floating the idea of a temporary one and wants Oubre to design it.

In a peculiar roundabout way, that takes us back to the link Lozoya and other Suns fans have been able to make through the team online, beyond watching them on the court and instead through their own creativity.

“[I’m] not thinking how everybody thinks, like, ‘This is Devin Booker, NBA superstar.’ You think, ‘Yo, this is Book. He’s cool. I’m just me. There’s Davon, there’s Mikal’ — it’s just normal people,” Lozoya said.

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