At the root of the Phoenix Suns new “WeArePHX” marketing campaign is the team’s nearly 50-year connection to the Valley, a connection that goes straight to Phoenix City Hall.
“I can tell you, as a kid who grew up here in Phoenix, Arizona, in west Phoenix at 39th Avenue and Dunlap in the ’70s and early ’80s, how important this organization, this team was to us as families across Phoenix,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said at news conference at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Monday. “We didn’t have professional football, or baseball or hockey. The Phoenix Suns, they were our team.”
The Phoenix Suns came to Arizona in 1968. It was the only professional sports franchise in the Valley until the Cardinals arrived in 1988.
Stanton went on to say how important the Suns have been to the Phoenix area and how downtown would not have been revitalized without the construction of the arena in the heart of the city and without the team’s dedication to the community.
It is a dedication the Suns have put front and center in the campaign the team formally unveiled in September.
“One of the big things that we all know we’ve focused very specifically on over the summer was connecting and driving a strong connection with our fan base and the larger community here in Phoenix,” Suns President Jason Rowley said. “A big part of that obviously, is the ‘WeArePHX’ campaign that we’ve rolled out and rolled out very strongly over the last couple of months here.”
Through the campaign, the Suns have been making their presence felt throughout in the city. They have painted their logo on local basketball courts, been involved in schools and hosted a scrimmage at the team’s old home, Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, all aiming to connect with fans, old and new.
Against Portland on Friday night, the Suns will induct one of the most popular players in team history, Steve Nash, into their Ring of Honor. Nash played for the Suns for a total of 10 years, winning consecutive NBA MVP awards in the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons. Nash also led Phoenix to seven playoff appearances and three trips to the Western Conference Finals.
“Obviously, Steve is a great player, who did it night in and night out,” Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek said. “His ability to pass the ball and make teammates (better), there’s probably 40 guys out there that should be paying him royalties for getting them big contracts because of what Steve did for them. It’s going to be an exciting night. It’s well-deserved by him, he’s one of the greatest of all time so it’ll be fun.”