Jerry Colangelo talks new Ring of Honor for Suns, remembers Walter Davis

Nov 3, 2023, 10:32 AM | Updated: Nov 5, 2023, 8:39 pm

Charles Barkley, Steve Nash and Kevin Johnson...

Charles Barkley, Steve Nash and Kevin Johnson are introduced to the new Phoenix Suns Ring of Honor during the NBA game against the Utah Jazz at Footprint Center on October 28, 2023 in Phoenix. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns unveiled new, permanent banners during their Ring of Honor ceremony during halftime of their opening night game on Saturday at the Footprint Center against the Utah Jazz.

One fan of the new setup is former owner Jerry Colangelo.

“Well, I’m a big believer in tradition, I’m old school in that way,” said Colangelo to Arizona Sports‘ Bickley & Marotta on Friday. “When Mat Ishbia had the mic, before the individuals were introduced, he talked about honoring the past, respecting the present and looking forward to the future.

“I think that kind of tradition in honoring those who, more or less, paved the way or had a great part in the history is part of being a fan — and people really love that. … It was a great night. I have to be honest with you. … The years have taken their toll on all of us. It’s really a fact of life and you know athletes in particular the beating they take with their legs their knees their ankles. It comes home to roost, you know later on in life, but it was a great night. I think the fans really responded and it was it was great.”

The 15 current members of the Ring of Honor who had banners and murals unveiled are Alvan Adams, Charles Barkley, Tom Chambers, Walter Davis, Cotton Fitzsimmons, Connie Hawkins, Kevin Johnson, John MacLeod, Dan Majerle, Al McCoy, Steve Nash, Joe Proski, Dick Van Arsdale, Paul Westphal and Colangelo.

The team has announced previously that Amar’e Stoudemire and Shawn Marion will receive banners as part of their official inductions this season.

Remembering Walter Davis

Colangelo took time to remember Suns standout Davis, who died on Thursday at the age of 69.

“I still picture him as this young young guy coming out of North Carolina who had such an enthusiasm for the game,” Colangelo said. “He just he loved it and he played with such exhilaration. It was amazing and for him to step on a court as a rookie that average 25 (points) a game.

“He was given (the nickname) the Greyhound because he would just glide up the number for smooth as silk and then of course his shot the best jump shot. … We lost a good man. … It it’s too early that 69. I still think of him as a 25-year-old guy.”

Davis was taken fifth overall in the 1977 draft, ahead of notable names such as Bernard King to the New Jersey Nets, Jack Sikma to the Seattle Supersonics and Tree Rollins to the Atlanta Hawks.

“Bernard King was a known-product, no question about it, but we liked Walter Davis an awful lot,” Colangelo said. “We’re talking about great players, and the good news is they all made contributions — some didn’t — Walter Davis had a long career.

“Michael Jordan’s two favorite players in the world as he was coming up were Walter Davis and James Worthy.”

Davis finished his career with 1,033 career games played, averaged 18.9 points per game between the Suns, Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers, and was the 1977-78 Rookie of the Year Award winner.

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