Jae Crowder hopes to salsa with Suns fans after title win: ‘That’s the goal’

Jun 10, 2021, 9:16 AM
Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder (99) reacts after scoring during the fourth quarter of Game 6 of a...

Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder (99) reacts after scoring during the fourth quarter of Game 6 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers Thursday, June 3, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

PHOENIX — Let’s talk about goals.

Forward Jae Crowder has a big one: winning an NBA championship. His Phoenix Suns are in a good spot where that’s not out of the realm of possibility.

They’re up 2-0 on the Denver Nuggets in the conference semifinals and appearing to hit a stride with a 123-98 blowout on Wednesday at home.

Crowder, though, has now committed to how he’ll celebrate should the Suns run all the way to the championship.

He was asked following the Game 2 win over the Nuggets about his salsa dance that capped Phoenix’s first-round clincher — and got him ejected — against the Los Angeles Lakers last Thursday.

“That was last series. I was trying to move on a little bit,” Crowder said. “Definitely the fans and the interaction with them with that situation has been great. … I felt like we got disrespected a little bit in Game 3 or whatever so I did what I had to do in the closing game.

“I’ve moved on to Denver now. Hopefully when we win the whole thing, I can salsa with the crowd, salsa with some of the Phoenix fans here once we bring a championship here. That’s the goal.”

Just guessing, but Suns fans would probably enjoy that.

Crowder, of course, salsa danced to end the Lakers series because the Suns didn’t take kindly to the Los Angeles bench showing up Phoenix in Game 3 of the first-round series.

LeBron James’ spin move had his teammates going crazy, but that zealous reaction by them wasn’t forgotten by Phoenix players.

So in the final moments of the Suns clinching the Lakers series, Chris Paul did his LeBron-esque shoulder lean, while Crowder mimicked James’ Mountain Dew commercial in which the superstar taught a salsa class.

Crowder can be viewed as an instigator by his opponents.

It’s a fair label considering he lays it on thick. After salsa-dancing his way toward an ejection against Los Angeles, Crowder ragged on James and the Lakers with an Instagram post.

But Crowder, who picked up his third technical in eight postseason games on Wednesday due to a tiff with Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon, believes his energy isn’t intentionally meant to incite opponents.

“It comes at me. I don’t seek it,” he said. “Other teams try to be physical with me, try to get me riled up. I don’t know if they know: I like that style of play. I like to trash talk, I like all of that, because it definitely gets me going.

“But I got to be smart. I can’t always bite the bait and keep giving money back to the league,” Crowder added, smiling. “I’ve given a lot of money back this whole playoffs. I have to be smart, try to protect myself and protect my money a little bit.”

At least he has already purchased his salsa-dancing attire.

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