Stoudemire, Marion home at last in Suns’ Ring of Honor
Aug 9, 2023, 7:35 PM | Updated: Aug 10, 2023, 9:30 am
A small slice of justice has arrived on back order. It belongs to the 2004-05 Suns, one of the greatest basketball teams to never play for a championship.
Amar’e Stoudemire and Shawn Marion will join Steve Nash in the team’s Ring of Honor. Home at last.
This is no small gesture. The trio helped form the rarest of superteams in 2004: organic, homegrown, created in a hardwood lab before superteams became fashionable.
This superteam was anchored around three revolutionary players originally drafted by the organization. The undersized Nash revolutionized his position, winning consecutive MVP awards and paving the way for a new generation of point guards, including Steph Curry. Shawn Marion was a pioneer of positionless basketball and defensive versatility. Amar’e Stoudemire redefined how to change a game by dunking on fools who stood in his way.
Throw in Joe Johnson, Quentin Richardson and the revolutionary offensive approach of head coach Mike D’Antoni (Seven Seconds or Less), and the 2004-05 Suns were among the most entertaining, pioneering, dominating, engaging teams of the 21st century.
Alas, they lasted one year. The former owner engaged in a frugal, moronic fight with Johnson over $5 million dollars before shipping him off to Atlanta. Stoudemire underwent microfracture surgery on his knee before the start of the following season, and the thunder-show was never quite the same. And as playoff failures mounted, Marion grew disenchanted, feeling deeply underappreciated.
Those Suns teams eventually wrote the manual on how to lose a grip on great team chemistry. At least until Chris Paul’s Suns came around.
This represents a happy ending of sorts. Marion was an athletic marvel who could dominate on defense and in transition. He was also lovable and goofy, similar to how the current generation views and adores Mikal Bridges.
Meanwhile, early Stoudemire was a breathtaking beast, an artist of alpha-male expression. He attacked the rim like it was personal. His posterized opponents were frequently traumatized by the experience. He later revealed his ferocious dunks were an emotional outlet for him, therapy for his hardscrabble childhood and modest beginnings.
If only Deandre Ayton could find such motivation.
Mercifully, there is closure. The elevation of Marion and Stoudemire is more proof that new owner Mat Ishbia understands our market and our heritage, and how important our iconic Suns are to the community. And it pays homage to that rare superteam the Valley once loved and lost. Just as our new superteam prepares to finish the job, setting us free.