Suns Retorter: It's a Wonderful Life, Suns Fan
This time of year it is tough to flip through the channels and not catch at least a few minutes of one holiday classic or another. While Die Hard is the indisputable leader in the clubhouse when it comes to best holiday film, it is the movie It’s a Wonderful Life that should resonate most with Suns fans this season.
Let me explain. George Bailey represents Suns fans - a group that has given up much to support their hometown team and felt a little down on their luck going into the season. Sure, their savings and loan hasn’t just been raided by the good people of Phoenix but their ability for optimism has been about as bruised, battered and bankrupt as Bailey and his outlook on the world. It was so bad they were driven to the edge with ideas of tanking the entire thing.
Now, you probably think that the national media would be the bad guys in this scenario, but it’s quite the contrary. They’re actually the Clarence of the entire situation. They are the guardian angel that came to give fans a glimpse at just how miserable things might have been in an alternate reality. They took the Suns faithful by the hand and walked them through the idea of a nightmarish situation where the team set records for futility and put all their hope in a future yet to be written. A future based on a lottery and not a plan.
Luckily the trip the national media led the fan base on was nothing more than a cautionary tale. It is one that has led Suns fans to a place where they can enjoy what is happening in front of them. Now they see a team that is defying the odds in a way no one expected.
The 2013-14 Suns are the ultimate underdog story. Their coach, Jeff Hornacek, was a late second round pick as a player who played for well over a decade, made an all-star team and has his jersey retired in Utah. As a coach he’s a man who many wondered if he might be “too nice” to succeed.
One half of their backcourt, Goran Dragic, started his career as a fluke due to a soccer injury as a kid and his mother pushing him towards basketball. This sport had seen very few NBA pros come from his home country of Slovenia, home to only two million people. He too was a late second round pick and had to not only beat the odds of his homeland but also those of the NBA’s draft.
P.J. Tucker and Dionte Christmas went from college standouts to traveling the globe in order to keep their hoops dreams alive. They played in a combined 13 different countries before landing in Phoenix.
Gerald Green, the defibrillator of the team that gives them a jump start when they flat line, had even stranger odds than the rest. He made it to the league even though he is sporting only nine digits, which is bizarre for a phone number and even stranger for the number of fingers an NBA player has.
Archie Goodwin is 19 years old, an age where most of us were busy putting the moves on members of the opposite sex at college parties. Instead, he’s busy putting the moves on NBA players like Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen and Tim Duncan on the court.
Center Miles Plumlee played a total of 55 minutes in his first year in the NBA as a member of the Pacers. Despite being viewed as nothing more than a glorified throw-in during the deal that brought him to the desert, he surpassed the total of minutes in his first three games in Phoenix, in the starting lineup.
Oh yeah, and then there’s Channing Frye, a guy who missed 14 months due to a virus that put his life at risk. He is a man who wasn’t expected to even be ready to play until the first part of 2014. No big deal. He just came back in time for training camp and has been an integral part of the team’s offense- averaging his highest shooting percentage from three point land and his third highest points per game average of his career.
As a Suns fan, it is indeed a wonderful life right now. What could have been, never was, thanks to a ragtag group of underdogs who answered the bell and gave the franchise wings. And we have the national media to thank for reminding us of it.