I've been a die-hard Phoenix Suns fan since I moved the valley back in 1997 & continuing today - through the days of Jason Kidd, Stephon Marbury, Shawn Marion, Antonio McDyess, etc. Despite my strong interest even back then, it paled in comparison to how I felt about the run 'n gun Suns of the current era w/ Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire. Something about that team drew my interest and had me watching games, reading articles and it even inspired me to start this blog.
I now feel that I know what it was that inspired me... Amare Stoudemire.
It took only a few weeks of the 2010-11 NBA season to come to this conclusion, but it's based upon the following thought processes:
- Amare was completely raw coming out of high school in Florida and as a fan we all got to see him grow into maturity. Sure, there were some stumbling blocks, but he's a perennial All-NBA Power Forward candidate at this point in his career.
- Stoudemire played without regard. What I mean by this is that he didn't care who he was playing against, how reputable they were or how good they were supposed to be. Amare wanted to prove he belonged in the NBA by his dominating play - much like Blake Griffin in doing in LA right now. Amare wanted those moments more than others & challenged himself to improve his play in those situations. We all know about his deficiencies as well so before you comment/complain here that he wasn't that good, I'm already clear on those points.
- STAT had the power.. Reckless on the fast break, spinning away from his defender, elevating in the lane - Stoudemire's dunks were a thing of beauty.
- I find myself following the Knicks progress - not as much as I follow PHX still, but I pretty much ignored NY previously. I want to see if they are winning, if Amare is putting forth his maximum effort (as was questioned as his time in Phoenix) and see if Stoudemire can, in fact survive w/out Steve Nash. So far, it looks like Amare is who we saw in a Suns uniform - highlight reel material, 2x Player of the Week honors (already), 2 separate 5-game winning streaks & a winning record.
- I don't feel the energy or motivation to post new articles & analysis about the Suns as frequently on the blog. The Suns are currently a mid-level team that might make the playoffs if they keep Nash around for the entire season. I'm also not a band-wagon fan - I support the team & players still and will continue to do so regardless of who is on the team or how good their record is.
- The Suns management team decided not to provide a fully guaranteed contract to Amare in the off-season, while NY was willing - and I actually agree w/ this decision & the thought processes behind it. It's still early to determine how good of a move that was long-term (over 5 full seasons), but Stoudemire was worth the max contract the Knicks gave him. They messed up by guaranteeing it all too, but they got Amare Stoudemire and we did not.
I still love the Suns, but my interest has wavered a bit this season. Sure, Steve Nash and Grant Hill are still there, but it's just not the same.
I miss this... I am an Amare Stoudemire fan.