The season is now upon us. Next week, all 30 NBA teams will start competition and begin answering the questions we have been asking all summer. Each team brings to the table their own storylines. Some are out-and-out contenders to win it all. Others will be left playing for a lottery pick.
MacLeod has yet to complete a shoe contract and, unlike other schools, the revenues from his basketball camp at Notre Dame go to the university, which pays him an additional weekly stipend for administering it. In the first half, the Jets' defense "played high," many of its front-seven players standing up and looking around for the ball rather than Vesuvius models low as they should. Pgoenix they do, you have my permission to issue a parade. Makayla Canovali is also lifted, albeit with a look of teeth-gritting terror. Through it all, MacLeod never once uttered an ill word against the Phoenix, Dallas or New York management, players or fans. Tesla's plan to Phoenix suns cheerleaders serene global wireless communication using Earth's magnetic field was, let's Phoenix suns cheerleaders serene say, a long shot -- he worked, of course, before satellite-relayed signals were possible -- and his claim to be able to deliver electricity suuns businesses through the air never made much sense. Best Case Scenario - 35 wins Golden State has upside. The music stops, and Jackson shrieks again.
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Please sit down before I reveal the horrible news -- there will be no cheerleaders at the Super Bowl.
- The franchise began play in as an expansion team , and their early years were shrouded in mediocrity, but their fortunes changed in the s, where, after partnering long-term guard Dick Van Arsdale and center Alvan Adams with Paul Westphal , the Suns reached the NBA Finals , in what is considered to be one of the biggest upsets in NBA history.
- In their inaugural season, the Suns posted a win—loss record of 16—
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Haylie competes on the Glitter Stars, one of the youngest of CEA's 41 teams, in all-star cheerleading, a hyperenergetic mash-up of dance choreography, gymnastics and big air stunts. CEA has six gyms across the state, and a reputation in the sport that extends internationally. The gym's senior elite squad won the worlds, the Super Bowl of competitive cheerleading.
Haylie is dressed in the Glitter Stars' practice uniform: a teal, sequined bow in her light brown hair, a teal, glitter half-top that buckles over her flat chest, and black cheerleading shorts. The music that accompanies her team's routines -- a two-and-a-half-minute compilation heavy on techno and '80s hits -- plays on automatic loop in the car's CD player.
Haylie mouths the words of the songs -- "You see it! You love it! You want some more of it! Because the doll's face doesn't move, Haylie makes expressions for it, rounding her lips into a surprised "O! Michelle pulls into the gym's parking lot, and the two walk inside. Haylie and her teammates burst into the trophy-lined practice space, bouncing on its spring floor. Caroline Garrett, an 8-year-old, announces to no one in particular, "Bam!
JoHannah Atkins, who's 8, catches a glimpse of herself in the wall of mirrors and sucks in her belly. Jackson, a year-old former University of North Carolina cheerleader, has an air of determined seriousness. There, they will be going head-to-head against the SuperModels from Virginia's Fame All Stars gym, in the Mini 2 division, the second of six competitive levels.
Jackson isn't concerned so much with winning as she is with getting her team to trust its training. At an exhibition the previous week, the Glitter Stars -- 19 girls and one boy, ages 5 to 8 -- had failed to take their places correctly on stage, throwing the routine out of whack, and several of the stunts collapsed.
Girls, and boy, everyone look at my eyelashes. Over the first half of the 20th century, it shifted from all-male yell leader teams to all-female spirit squads. From there, it began to morph into a competitive realm of its own, eventually splitting into two worlds: traditional, or sideline, cheerleading, with its chants and pom-poms, and all-star cheerleading, which emerged in the early s. Although exact figures are hard to come by, experts say there are around , traditional cheerleaders and , competitive ones.
This doesn't include all-star's international numbers, which are growing fast. Varsity, the largest of the three main competition companies Cheersport and Jam Brands are the others , helps fund a nonprofit that is seeding Europe and the Far East with cheerleading organizations.
This is widely understood as a bid to get the sport into the Olympics. Meanwhile, another entity funded by Varsity, USA Cheer, is campaigning to rebrand high school and college-level competitive cheerleading as an NCAA emerging sport called stunt, which would be eligible for the resources and scholarships that Title IX affords.
This push for legitimacy is possible because of the strong grass roots that have formed at gyms like CEA. There, girls as young as 3 become accustomed to serious competition, with a rigorous practice and travel schedule. But while all-star emphasizes athleticism, it also ramps up the sexualization intrinsic to an activity whose most recognizable professional form remains the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders.
All-star teams have names like Divas and Bombshells Baby. Girls compete in full makeup, with bright red lipstick and mascara, and sometimes even Vegas-style eye rhinestones, false eyelashes and wigs. While the average 8-year-old Pop Warner sideline cheerleader might wear a pleated skirt that lays midthigh, with bike shorts underneath, CEA cheerleaders compete in tight Lycra skirts that barely cover the bottoms of their glittery underpants, paired with an off-the-shoulder half-shirt.
To the uninitiated, all-star's blend of the superfeminine and the superathletic can seem jarring. But in following the Glitter Stars from practice to competition, it became clear that this is part of the sport's appeal to them. Courtney Smith-Pope, who co-owns CEA with her mother and sister, says, "There's a girly, fun, sleepover, get-dressed-up-ness to it, and at the same time they're really challenged physically and they get to be pushed.
For parents who wouldn't want their daughter to do a very unisex sport and miss out on the girliness of other activities, like pageants, this is a good balance. Like most stunts, it begins with the teammates in groups of four, composed of three bases and one flyer who gets lifted up in the air.
In this particular sequence, the flyers stand on their hands and the back spots hoist them from their upside-down position onto the front spots' bent backs, then lift them to shoulder height. Each flyer, on one leg, pulls her other leg up to her head a heel stretch , before bending it in front of her, then kicking it out behind her an arabesque. Jackson cues the music and calls out, "Big smiles!
Smile the whole time! Have fun the whole time! Those kids from teal and black are back! The flyers kick up to handstand in sync. One of the flyers, 7-year-old Isabella Torres, has her arm in a sling from an injury she sustained during last week's exhibition. As she's lifted, she sways wildly with a big cheerful grin and crashes down.
The second group gets Haylie up easily, and she shimmies and makes her facials as she executes the heel stretch and arabesque. Makayla Canovali is also lifted, albeit with a look of teeth-gritting terror. The back spot, 8-year-old Ninah Obewu, grimaces as Makayla slips and breaks her fall on Ninah's wrist during the arabesque.
Jackson pauses the music. One of the assistant coaches, year-old Lynne Culbreth, grabs Isabella from behind and presses her legs together. They can't get a hold of you if you are flopping around. The team moves on to the routine's next section: split leg jumps followed by synchronized back handsprings. Haylie, positioned at the front, hits her jumps enthusiastically, but freezes during the back handsprings, causing a small traffic pileup as the rest of the team moves backward.
It's clear to the other assistant coach, year-old Lindsay Herrel, that Haylie has been stricken by a "tumbling block. She counts, "," with her hand at the girl's lower back, and Haylie jerks her hands forward to gain momentum, but stands in place. Haylie can't find her groove, and Jackson moves her to the back of the group for the tumbling portion, so she's less visible if she freezes. Haylie's face crumples as she walks to her new spot. After running through the next stunt, Jackson tells the Glitter Stars that she wants to work on their entrance.
The team files out and stands at the door. Jackson prompts them: "Okay, you're at the competition, with smoke all around the door. Aaaaannouncing the Cheer Extreme Glitter Stars!!!
They run into the gym, waving and smiling, and the coaches whoop. Jackson isn't satisfied. She brings the kids close. So excited! Would your face look like this? That's how you want to come in. No fake smiles! Although that practice has largely fallen out of favor, the emotional tenor of cheering is still highly prized and scored at competitions.
At practice, girls sometimes grunt or exhale loudly, but they know that in competition they are supposed to cultivate a sassy quality. They should be sexy, but not too sexy; girlish but not too girlish. Only a few Glitter Stars have the balance just right -- smiling brightly, cocking their hips when they finish their tumbling routines, flirtatiously tossing their heads. Cailyn Jackson, the coach's 8-year-old daughter, competes on the Glitter Stars and other, more advanced teams, and she has the sass down cold.
But Caroline Garrett can achieve only the wacky exuberance of most 8-year-olds. She expresses enthusiasm with spontaneous dances of her own invention, and her facials have a kind of Carol Burnett quality. Her mom, Anne, says with a laugh, "Some of the little ones haven't picked up on the nuances of it yet, and it's kind of hilarious to watch. The all-star cheerleaders who master the formula become what Raleigh-based cheer videographer Jay Noah calls cheerlebrities.
CEA's most famous one is Erica Englebert, a petite blonde flyer who has been competing since she was 4. When Erica was 8, her mother commissioned Noah to make a highlight video of the girl, then posted it on YouTube. It generated pages of comments from around the world, with fans wanting to know how much Erica weighed, wishing ardently that they could be her. It wasn't long before fans -- mostly other cheerleaders, but also the occasional middle-aged man -- started creating their own Erica videos, with pictures stolen from Facebook or Noah's videos.
The tributes, which are typically set to love songs, show Erica, now 14, executing ever more complicated cheerleading stunts as she grows.
They also show her posing in tank tops or a bikini, walking in slow motion on the beach and looking at the camera out of the corner of her eye. The Erica videos inspire crazed behavior; there are dozens of fake Erica profiles on Facebook, Myspace and Formspring, as well as a phony profile of her boyfriend and her mother.
Sandy Englebert, Erica's mom, says she loves the first video she commissioned from Noah, but that she isn't quite sure what to make of all the ensuing attention. She also says she is no longer comfortable letting Erica walk around cheer competitions without an adult, because she gets mobbed. And Sandy finds it strange when girls Skype Erica and cry when she answers.
It's Jennifer's second competition as the official team mom, and she dresses in a teal shirt with an oversize pin made from her daughter's cheerleading photo. She wrangles Isabella into her uniform top and lays her daughter down on top of a towel. Isabella cuddles her blanket and stuffed lamb while Jennifer brushes teal eye shadow in a large upward sweep across her eyes.
Isabella whimpers, "You're touching inside of my eye and it hurt! Once the mascara and lipstick are applied, the next challenge is forming Isabella's hair into the Glitter Stars' new competition hairdo: a straight ponytail with a pouf in front.
Getting Isabella's bangs to stand up poses quite a structural challenge, so much so that at the last competition, Jennifer had simply asked Kevin, a CEA coach whose boyfriend is a hairdresser, to do the girl's hair. But this time Jennifer is determined to get it right.
After much manipulating with a roller brush, bobby pins and clouds of Aqua Net, Isabella is ready. The two take the hotel shuttle to the convention center where the Cheersport regionals are held. Even at a. Girls lie on the carpeted floor as their mothers apply false eyelashes or sew fake curls into their hair.
An older cheerleader shakes glitter onto her male teammate's shag haircut.
Nicknamed "Go", fans are familiar with the Gorilla for his on the court antics where he raises the Phoenix Suns flag, performs slam dunk routines and fires up the crowd. Sixth Man of the Year. This was the beginning of a franchise-record 13 consecutive playoff appearances. Hill, who was previously considered injury-prone, played in the majority of games over the next four seasons as a starter. On February 1, , the Suns relieved Jeff Hornacek of his duties as head coach.
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Personalized daily email with your favorite topics sports and entertainment. The Suns played its first 24 seasons at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum , located slightly northwest of downtown Phoenix. Walter Kennedy , who said that Phoenix was "too hot", "too small", and "too far away" to be considered a successful NBA market. However, they were disappointed with the results. Jerry Colangelo , then a player scout, came over from the Chicago Bulls ,  a franchise formed two years earlier , as the Suns' first general manager at the age of 28, along with Johnny "Red" Kerr as head coach.
Unlike the first-year success that Colangelo and Kerr had in Chicago, in which the Bulls finished with a first-year expansion record of 33 wins and a playoff berth plus a Coach of the Year award for Kerr , Phoenix finished its first year at 16—66, and finished 25 games out of the final playoff spot.
Goodrich returned to his former team, the Lakers, after two seasons with the Suns, but Van Arsdale spent the rest of his playing days as a Sun and a one-time head coach for Phoenix. The Suns' last-place finish that season led to a coin flip for the number-one overall pick for the NBA draft with the expansion-mate Bucks.
The next two seasons —71 and —72 , the Suns finished with and win seasons, but did not qualify for the playoffs in either year, and did not reach the playoffs again until The —76 season proved to be a pivotal year for the Suns as they made several key moves, including the offseason trade of former All-Star guard Charlie Scott to the Boston Celtics in exchange for guard Paul Westphal , a member of Boston's championship team.
Phoenix had an inconsistent regular season, starting out at 14—9 then the best start in team history , then went 4—18 during a stretch where the team sustained several injuries including Dick Van Arsdale breaking his right arm in a February game. The Suns then went 24—13 in the final 37 games to finish 42—40, clinching their first playoff spot since Game five of the NBA Finals took place at Boston Garden , where the Suns came back from a point first-half deficit to force overtime.
Havlicek made what was supposed to be a game-winning basket, but due to fans rushing the floor before time officially expired, officials put one second back on the clock with Phoenix having possession of the ball, but under their own basket. Instead of attempting a desperation heave, the Suns' Westphal intentionally called a timeout that they did not have, a technical foul, giving the Celtics a free throw, which Jo Jo White converted to put them up — However, this advanced the ball to half-court, and once the Suns had possession, Garfield Heard made a buzzer-beating turnaround jump shot to force a third overtime.
The Suns' hard-fought battle was short-lived, as Boston's reserve player Glenn McDonald scored six of his eight points in the third overtime to lead the Celtics to a — win. Boston eventually won the series in six games, clinching the championship at the Coliseum, defeating Phoenix in game six, 87— In the late s and early s, the Suns enjoyed several successful seasons, making the playoffs eight seasons in a row. Problems arose on and off the court in the mids.
These indictments were partially based on testimony from star player Walter Davis , who was given immunity. No defendants ever went to trial: two of the players went into a prosecution diversion program, while another received probation. Nevertheless, the scandal, although now perceived in many respects to be a witch hunt  tarnished the reputation of the franchise both nationally and within the community.
With a drug scandal and the loss of promising young center Nick Vanos , who was killed in the crash of Northwest Airlines Flight , the franchise was in turmoil both on and off the court. This was the beginning of a franchise-record 13 consecutive playoff appearances. All-Star Tom Chambers came over from the Seattle SuperSonics the first unrestricted free agent in NBA history , second round draft pick Jeff Hornacek continued to develop, and "Thunder" Dan Majerle was drafted with the 14th pick in the draft.
Kurt Rambis was added from the Charlotte Hornets in , and the team upset the Los Angeles Lakers in five games during the playoffs that season, before falling to the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals.
In —91 , the Suns went 55—27 but lost in the first round to the Utah Jazz , 3—1. In —92 , the Suns went 53— The series was punctuated by a game four in which the Suns lost in double overtime — the highest scoring game in NBA Playoff history to-date. That game was the last Suns game ever played at the Coliseum. The arena is occasionally referred to as the "Purple Palace" due to its purple seats, one of the Suns' colors. Barkley went on to win the MVP award that —93 season. In addition to Barkley, the Suns added key players to their roster, including Danny Ainge and draftees Arkansas center Oliver Miller and forward Richard Dumas who was actually drafted in but was suspended for his rookie year for violating the NBA drug policy.
Under rookie head coach Paul Westphal , a former Suns assistant and player with the Suns in the NBA Finals, the Suns won 62 games in —93 , setting a franchise record. In the first round of the playoffs, they defeated the eighth-seeded Lakers, coming back from a 0—2 deficit in the five-game series. The series also included a triple-overtime game in game three, making this and their previous game five in the series the only triple-overtime games in the history of the NBA Finals.
The Suns continued to be successful in the regular season, going —68 during the —93 , —94 , and —95 seasons. They continued to bolster their roster by adding players such as A.
Despite a Pacific Division title in , the Suns were eliminated in consecutive Western Conference Semifinal rounds by the Houston Rockets , both series going a full seven games. In both years, the Suns led the series by two games at one point 2—0 in , 3—1 in only to see the Rockets come back to win each series. At the end of the —95 season , Phoenix general manager Bryan Colangelo , the son of Jerry, initiated an eventually costly trade, [ citation needed ] sending the All-Star Majerle and a first round draft pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for John "Hot Rod" Williams.
Majerle was a fan favorite in Phoenix and in the Suns' locker room. The Suns posted a 41—41 record and were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the San Antonio Spurs.
Westphal was fired midway through the season and replaced by Fitzsimmons, his third stint as head coach. A combination of front office unrest, along with the dwindling possibility of winning a championship, [ citation needed ] led to turmoil in Barkley's relationship with Jerry Colangelo, who both spurned each other publicly.
Three of the four players were not with the franchise one year later, and two of the most talented players Horry and Cassell constantly clashed with the coach and seemed to be a negative influence in the locker room. Upon hearing the draft announcement, Suns fans booed in disapproval of the relatively unknown player, because he had not played in one of the major college conferences. After the Barkley trade, the Suns began the —97 season 0—13, a franchise record for the worst start.
During the game losing streak, Fitzsimmons stepped down as the coach and was replaced by former player Danny Ainge. Cassell was later traded to Dallas for all-star guard Jason Kidd. With a mostly small lineup, the Suns put together an game win streak that put them in the playoffs as the seventh seed , in a series that almost upset the favored Sonics. Despite the loss in the playoffs, the Suns became one of the few NBA teams to make the playoffs after starting the season 0—10 or worse, [ citation needed ] and one of the few to make the playoffs after experiencing a plus-game losing streak during the regular season.
As the Suns entered the playoffs, they beat the higher-seeded San Antonio Spurs 3—1 in the best-of-five series. The Spurs were without their best player Tim Duncan throughout the whole series. However, even with the return of Kidd in the next round, the Suns fell to the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers in a 4—1 series. The Suns continued to make the playoffs until the —02 season when they fell short for the first time in 14 years.
That season marked the trade of Jason Kidd, partly due to a publicized domestic violence episode, [ citation needed ] to the New Jersey Nets for Stephon Marbury. With the resultant high draft pick, the Suns were able to draft Amar'e Stoudemire. He became the first high school-drafted player to win the NBA Rookie of the Year for the —03 season, during which the Suns posted a record of 44—38 and returned to the playoffs. In the —04 season , the Suns finished out of the playoffs with a 29—53 record.
The —05 season marked the Suns' return to the NBA's elite, finishing with the best record at 62—20, and tying a franchise record set by the —93 team. They set a team record for greatest one-season improvement at 33 games. Nash went on to win the MVP award that season. The Suns swept the Memphis Grizzlies , 4—0, and defeated the fourth-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the second round, 4—2, as Nash forced game six into overtime with a three-pointer in the closing seconds.
In the Western Conference Finals, the Suns played the San Antonio Spurs , who won the series 4—1, ending Phoenix's season, partly due to Joe Johnson missing the first two games of the series. Johnson went on to start the remaining games where he averaged 40 minutes per game and The Suns lost the first two at home, as well as the following game in San Antonio to fall behind 3—0 in the series, before winning game four at San Antonio — The team then lost game five at home —95 to be eliminated from the playoffs.
Stoudemire averaged The —06 NBA season began with Stoudemire undergoing microfracture surgery in his knee on October 18, , missing all but three games that season. Shooting guard Joe Johnson also demanded a sign-and-trade deal to the Atlanta Hawks , in which the Suns got Boris Diaw and two future first round picks. Other acquisitions included Raja Bell and Kurt Thomas. Despite the turnover in players, the Suns again won the Pacific Division , going 54—28 and capturing the second seed in the Western Conference.
After winning the first game in Phoenix, they found themselves trailing in the series 3—1 after impressive performances [ clarification needed ] by Lakers' shooting guard Kobe Bryant. However, the Suns went on to win three straight games. With left in the fifth game, Suns guard Raja Bell grabbed Bryant around the neck and threw him down as the Lakers' star drove to the basket.
Bell earned a technical foul, his second of the game, and an automatic ejection. The Suns took game six in overtime, their first overtime win all season, despite 50 points from Bryant and Bell out serving a one-game suspension with last-second help from mid-season acquisition Tim Thomas.
On their home court, the Suns won game seven —90, eliminating the Lakers for the first time since The Suns are 1 of 9 teams in NBA history to win a playoff series after being behind 3—1. In the second round, the Suns faced the Los Angeles Clippers. The series was played closely, with both teams trading games on each other's courts. The series was 2—2 and the Suns were behind in game five before coming back and won in double overtime.
The Suns took game one in Dallas by a single point and their May 30 victory in game four marked the most wins for the franchise in a Conference Finals series since the season. The Suns lost games five and six by a combined 25 points and were eliminated from the series on June 3. Under coach D'Antoni, the Suns popularized the fast break offense known as 7 seconds or less , which was later published in a book written by Sports Illustrated writer Jack McCallum.
Though criticized for a supposed lack of defense, the Suns specialized an efficient offense designed to quickly get off shots that made regrouping on defense difficult for the opposing team. The Suns entered the —07 season aiming to win the first championship in franchise history. From November 20 to December 22, the Suns posted a game win streak, followed almost immediately with a game win streak from December 29 to January On March 14, the 49—14 Suns met the 52—10 Dallas Mavericks in a match-up where both teams were fighting for the top seed in the Western conference and Nash was going for his third consecutive MVP award against Dirk Nowitzki.
Though the Suns won the game in double overtime,  the Mavericks would finish with the West's top seed at 67—15, and Nowitzki would narrowly win the MVP award ahead of Nash. While the Mavericks were upset in the first round by the eight-seed Golden State Warriors, the 61—21 Suns defeated Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in five games in the opening round of the playoffs. The series saw the Spurs defeat the Suns in six games, in what many called "the real finals" of the —07 season.
Kerr was also a part of the Sarver-led investment group that purchased the franchise from Jerry Colangelo. Hill, who was previously considered injury-prone, played in the majority of games over the next four seasons as a starter. The Suns finished 55—27 on the season, two games behind the Lakers who won the division. In the opening round of the playoffs, the Suns lost to the Spurs in five games, the first time they did not advance past the first round in the D'Antoni-Nash era.
During the off-season, the Suns had difficulties signing free agents because of being over the luxury tax. They made attempts to sign a backup point guard, Tyronn Lue ; however, he decided to sign with the Bucks for more money. The Suns were expected to make the transition back to the up-tempo style basketball nicknamed the "7 Seconds or Less" or " Run and Gun " style. On February 18, Gentry began his head coaching tenure with a — blowout over the Clippers at home.
Six Suns players scored in double digits, led by Leandro Barbosa's 24 points. The Suns led by as much as 50 points during the game and were without their swingman Jason Richardson who was serving a one-game suspension. However, this offense cost them their defense, allowing over points per game, 27th in the league. The Suns scored in the next two games. On February 20, Amar'e Stoudemire underwent eye surgery and was out for eight weeks.
They went 18—13 under Gentry in the last 31 games. At the end of the season, the Suns missed the playoffs with a 46—36 record. During the —10 season, the Suns played a far more balanced style of basketball and finished with a 54—28 record.
In the wake of Kerr's decision to leave the club, senior vice president of basketball operations David Griffin told managing partner Robert Sarver he did not want to be a candidate to replace Kerr and left when his contract expired on June On August 5, , the Suns hired Lance Blanks as general manager. The Suns ended the —11 season with a losing record and missed the playoffs.
Markieff is the twin brother of Marcus Morris , who played together for three years in Kansas. Marshall was a prolific passer in his two seasons at North Carolina; setting the ACC  and North Carolina  season assist records, along with winning the Bob Cousy Award  in his sophomore season with the Tar Heels. During the free agency period, the Suns traded Steve Nash to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for first round picks in and , as well as second round picks in and They also did a three-way trade with the New Orleans Hornets and the Timberwolves by trading Robin Lopez and Hakim Warrick to the Hornets and a second rounder to the Timberwolves in exchange for Wesley Johnson , a top protected future first rounder and the rights to Brad Miller and Jerome Dyson.
The latter two players' rights were later waived and the Suns then signed Jermaine O'Neal for one year. The Suns also signed P. Tucker based on his performance with the Suns' Summer League team. On September 20, it was announced that Channing Frye had dilated cardiomyopathy and as a result, he missed the entire —13 season , although he sometimes made special appearances to do the pre-game show for local Suns games with Tom Leander and Tom Chambers.
On January 12, , the Suns became the fourth-fastest NBA team to win 2, games with a 97—81 road victory against the Chicago Bulls , which also marked the last victory for Alvin Gentry as head coach for the Suns.
On January 18, , the day after a loss that broke a home-game winning streak against the Milwaukee Bucks , Gentry agreed to leave the Phoenix Suns organization. A few days later, assistant head coaches Dan Majerle and Elston Turner had also resigned from their positions. On February 21, , the Suns had traded their second round pick to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Marcus Morris , the twin brother of power forward Markieff Morris.
The Suns ended their first post-Steve Nash season with a 25—57 win-loss record, their second-worst record in franchise history behind only their inaugural season.
On April 22, , it was announced that the Suns had fired general manager Lance Blanks. The team also started the new season with new modified logos, replacing most of the purple on their logos with black, although purple would still be found on their jerseys. Although the Suns were expected to have a poor season, they began the season with a 19—11 record. Eric Bledsoe then went down against the Los Angeles Clippers with a torn meniscus and missed the following 33 games.
At 47—32 while Dallas and Memphis were both 48—32, Phoenix lost against both teams before they defeated the Sacramento Kings to finish the season 48— Dallas finished 49—33 and Memphis finished 50—32, resulting in Memphis finishing with the seventh seed, Dallas with the eighth, and Phoenix out of the playoffs. He was the youngest player drafted at the time by the Suns at years-old  and debuted two days before his 19th birthday against the Dallas Mavericks.
However, star player Eric Bledsoe sustained a season-ending injury on December 26, On February 1, , the Suns relieved Jeff Hornacek of his duties as head coach. On March 14, , the Suns were eliminated from playoff contention for a sixth straight season making it the longest drought in franchise history surpassing the five straight misses from the —71 NBA season to the —75 NBA season.
However, rookie Devin Booker went from being a sixth-man off the bench player for Kentucky to future impact player after the injuries to Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight. During the free agency period, the Suns regained former players and fan-favorites Jared Dudley and Leandro Barbosa under new deals. While the Suns ended the —17 season with only a slight improvement from their previous record despite the return of Eric Bledsoe , Devin Booker continued to improve in his second season with the team, leading the team in points scored at The Suns earned their first no.
Before the start of the official season and during preseason on October 8, , owner Robert Sarver decided to relieve Ryan McDonough of General Manager Duties  and named vice president of basketball operations James Jones and assistant general manager Trevor Bukstein the interim general managers. A highlight of the season was when a planned three-way trade with the Washington Wizards and Memphis Grizzlies fell apart through miscommunication of the players involved and being sent in the planned deal.
Deandre Ayton made first-team all-rookie. The Suns had the third odds in the lottery but landed the 6th pick. The Suns played the Kings opening night on October 23 and won in a blowout victory.
On October 24, Deandre Ayton was suspended 25 games for failing a drug test. In , they moved to Talking Stick Resort Arena. Plans were made to renovate Talking Stick Resort Arena, however disagreements on payments for these upgrades between the Suns and Phoenix City Council have delayed the process.
After the NBA had awarded a franchise to the Phoenix metropolitan area in , local designers chose purple and orange as the main colors for the Phoenix Suns' uniforms. The original uniforms featured a futuristic "Phoenix" wordmark in front plus block numbers and letters in orange with purple and white trim.
An orange sunburst logo was added on the sides of the shorts. The Suns tweaked their uniforms for the —74 season. Other than the basic template itself, only the lettering and numbers were changed from the original uniforms. The "Phoenix" wordmark and numbers were modified to a Western-style font, with a few changes to the treatment of the player's name at the back.
In time for the move to the America West Arena for the —93 season, the Suns overhauled their look. The home white and road purple uniforms now feature the "Streaking Sun" logo in the chest with "Suns" on top and the number at the bottom. The shorts feature the word "Phoenix" in orange letters written diagonally on the left leg. Prior to the —95 season, the Suns introduced a black alternate uniform featuring the same template. Before the —01 season the Suns changed to a more simplistic uniform style.
The home white uniform has the word "Suns" and the numbers in purple with orange trim along with purple side stripes. The road purple uniform has the word "Phoenix" and the numbers in white with orange trim along with grey side stripes.
An orange alternate uniform, with the abbreviation "PHX" and the numbers in white with purple trim along with grey side stripes, arrived prior to the —04 season. All three uniforms featured the updated "Streaking Sun" alternate logo on the stripes while the player's numbers was seen on the left leg until the —06 season.
The Suns overhauled their uniforms anew prior to the —14 season. The look was inspired from their previous uniform designs. The home white uniforms featured "Suns" in orange with black trim along with black numbers, orange streaks and grey and orange sunbursts.
The purple road uniforms featured "Phoenix" in white with orange trim along with orange numbers, white streaks and black, grey and orange sunbursts. The orange alternate uniforms sleeved from —15; sleeveless from —17 featured "Suns" in white with black trim along with black numbers, white streaks and black and dark orange sunbursts. During the —15 season, the Suns added a grey sleeved alternate uniform. The uniform has "Phoenix" and the numbers in black with orange trim.
The "Phoenix" wordmark was a callback to the "Western" look of the s and s. The black uniforms featured "PHX" in black with white trim along with white numbers and purple and orange trim. When the NBA switched to Nike beginning with the —18 season, the Suns drastically revamped their uniforms. Gone was the modernized "Streaking Sun" and the sunburst of the previous uniforms, and the Suns returned to a more simplified design.
Purple also returned as a prominent color. The home-and-away designations were eliminated and in its place were the white "Association" uniform, the primary color "Icon" uniform, the secondary color "Statement" uniform and the annual "City" uniform. The Suns' "Association" uniforms featured "Suns" in orange and the numbers in purple. The purple "Icon" uniforms featured "Phoenix" in grey and the numbers in orange.
The black "Statement" uniform featured "PHX" in grey and the numbers in orange. All three uniforms have the "Streaking Sun" logo on the beltline.
Please sit down before I reveal the horrible news -- there will be no cheerleaders at the Super Bowl. Green Bay and Pittsburgh, the last teams standing, are among the small number of NFL franchises that do not have a professional cheer-babe squad.
So brace for no cheerleaders at the Super Bowl. How could this happen? This is America! Because the Super Bowl is the sole NFL game each season to which both teams bring their cheerleaders, normally one of the treats of attending the final contest is gorgeous, scantily attired, dancing women along both sidelines.
Instead, in XII days in Dallas, there will be no cheerleaders at all. The saying goes -- offense sells tickets and defense wins championships. That has been the theme of the current playoffs. But all of the final four teams were in the top 10 for defense. But of the top rushing defenses, Nos. In passing, the disparity isn't quite as pronounced. Of the top 10 passing-offense teams this season, only one, Green Bay, made the title round.
Of the top 10 passing defenses, two, the Jets and Packers, did so. But in the main event, defense has prevailed over offense emphatically, with defenses No.
Once the Super Bowl is reached, some games are decided by offense, such as San Francisco's victory over San Diego in But in recent season-finale contests, defense has shown the way. In , the Giants took the trophy by holding the Patriots, who had just set the NFL record for regular-season scoring at 37 points per game, to 14 points in the Super Bowl. Last year, the Saints won the Super Bowl by holding the Indianapolis offense to a net of 10 points, considering the New Orleans defense also scored a touchdown.
Now the no-cheerleaders Steelers will face off against the no-cheerleaders Packers. Green Bay allows Wisconsin small-college pep squads, in college attire, on the sidelines of home games. With both teams being built around defense, the trophy might go to whichever's offense is least frustrated. But since scantily clad cheer-babes propitiate the football gods, and neither team has them, how will the football gods know whom to root for? Stats of the Week No. After a snap Steelers opening drive, a challenge, an injury timeout and two TV timeouts, the Jets had their first snap at For the remainder of the game, the Jets outgained the Steelers yards to 56 yards.
Oakland Raiders Jennifer of the Raiders -- old enough to dance the night away. Cheerleader of the Week: Jennifer of the Raiders, who according to her team bio "has been dancing since age 3" -- which sounds really tiring -- and graduated from the University of California at San Diego with a double major in communications and dance. Sweet Plays of the Championships: The Jets and Steelers both use complex zone-rush fronts intended to confuse the offense about who's coming -- but nobody choreographs a blitz better than the Steelers' Dick LeBeau.
Cornerback Ike Taylor, who hit Mark Sanchez, causing a fumble run back for a Pittsburgh touchdown, came through unblocked as megabucks first-round draft pick Jets left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson stood confused, not blocking anyone.
Now Pittsburgh is clinging to a lead at the 2-minute warning, facing third-and-6 on the Jets' Steelers coaches called a rollout pass, completed for the game-icing first down to Antonio Brown, the same little-known rookie who had the game-deciding catch the previous week against the Ravens.
Brown can be forgiven for running out of bounds and stopping the clock, rather than just "getting on the ground" as soon as he made the first-down catch. Sour Coaching Decision of the Championships: Leading midway through the third quarter, Green Bay faced third-and-goal on the Chicago 6.
Jay Cutler had left injured; little-used Todd Collins was warming up. So Packers, don't do anything silly -- a rush to keeping the clock moving, followed by a field goal and a lead, would put the Packers in excellent position. Instead, Mike McCarthy radioed in a pass and the interception was returned to the The game would prove tense 'til the waning seconds. If the Bears had pulled out the victory, sportstalk types now would be talking obsessively about this call.
McCarthy note: Packers leading and the untested Caleb Hanie at quarterback for Chicago, McCarthy called four consecutive passes, three of which were incomplete, stopping the clock and keeping the home team in the contest. At , McCarthy called a sweep, and the inexperienced James Starks ran out of bounds, again stopping the clock.
Had all these Green Bay calls simply been runs up the middle for no gain, Chicago's comeback attempt would have run out of time. Very large Packers nose tackle B. Raji came forward an instant, then dropped into coverage as part of a zone rush. Hanie, expecting a big blitz, threw a slant; Raji stepped in front for the pick-six that proved to be the winning points. Note to Pittsburgh -- Green Bay dropped a nose tackle into coverage on a zone rush against Atlanta, too.
Expect this tactic. Raji began waving the football around at the Chicago yard line and almost lost the ball. Very, very sour. Had Raji not scored, he would have joined Wrong-Way Marshall on the list of all-time boneheaded plays. Raji was sweet 'n' sour on the same down. Dickenson V. Alley If Tesla were alive today, he'd be rolling in federal subsidies.
Tesla, Flying Car Sure to Collide: General Motors has emerged from bankruptcy and taken initial steps to repay its federal bailout money -- two good bits of news, although the taxpayer remains on the hook for many billions of dollars extended to GM.
Specialty electric-car maker Tesla Motors also had a successful initial public offering and is being celebrated as some kind of testament to the entrepreneurial spirit. For Tesla, this is pure PR. This means that if Tesla goes out of business, the taxpayer will take the loss, while if Tesla becomes a hit, its management and private investors will keep all the profit.
The company bought a factory in Fremont, Calif. Compared to its size, Tesla is more heavily subsidized than General Motors at the low point. Basically, the company's existence is a giant raised middle finger to the taxpayer. And what's the product? Such speed has no relevance to everyday driving; rather, it is useful solely for road-rage behavior such as running red lights and cutting others off.
Taxes forcibly removed from the pockets of average people now fund a rich person's plaything. I dread the moment President Barack Obama has his picture taken next to a Tesla, as if throwing the public's money away on this toy for the Silicon Valley rich were an accomplishment. The Terrafugia -- get a horse! The other absurd vehicle in development is the Terrafugia flying car , which just won exemption from a federal airworthiness safety standard. Surely you will feel secure when a flying car exempted from safety standards buzzes your neighborhood, especially when you learn that another federal waiver means the pilot needs only 20 hours of experience before he or she takes off.
Maryland, my state, requires 60 hours behind the wheel before receiving a driver's license. But fly after 20 hours? Hey, wheels up! Surely few of these accidents-looking-for-a-place-to-happen will sell on the free market. So -- scan the horizon for a bailout.
If patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels, defense contracting is the last refuge of bad business plans. Tesla note: The car is well-named, for although Nikola Tesla was an important inventor and a key figure in the development of commercial-scale alternating current he had one of the basic ideas for getting electricity to homes , he also was a relentless self-promoter, not shy about exaggeration.
The famous photo of him in his Colorado Springs laboratory, reading a book as electricity crackles around him, is a double exposure -- that is, faked. Tesla's plan to allow global wireless communication using Earth's magnetic field was, let's just say, a long shot -- he worked, of course, before satellite-relayed signals were possible -- and his claim to be able to deliver electricity to businesses through the air never made much sense. If Tesla were alive today, he'd drive a Tesla. In the regular-season meeting, Pittsburgh seemed to have the contest salted away, then the Jets outscored Pittsburgh for the remainder of the game.
On Sunday, Pittsburgh seemed to have the contest salted away, then the Jets outscored Pittsburgh for the remainder of the game. But this time the home team lead was a little bigger and held.
To think: Pittsburgh won despite gaining 56 yards in the second half. The Jets played tremendous defense in the second half, limiting the Steelers to 29 net yards of offense 'til they took possession with remaining and iced the clock with two first downs.
It wasn't much offense, a mere two first downs, but finally the Pittsburgh offense stopped the Jets' comeback. In the first half, the Jets' defense "played high," many of its front-seven players standing up and looking around for the ball rather than staying low as they should. In the second half, the Jets' defensive technique was much better. Give the Jets credit for playing with heart in the second half. Down at intermission, they knew they had just as much time to come back as Pittsburgh had taken to get ahead.
In the second half, the Steelers switched from aggressive defense to a backed-off shell -- what Pittsburgh did in the fourth quarter against Arizona in the Steelers' most recent Super Bowl -- and just like that game, a big lead evaporated as Pittsburgh ended up hanging on for dear life in the closing seconds.
Of course, the Steelers won both contests. But it might be time to have a look at that backed-off philosophy. When the Steelers and Jets met in December, Pittsburgh used a no-huddle much of the game and ran 16 snaps with six offensive linemen on the field. The Jets stopped trying to power rush against the league's No. What might have happened if the Jets had loosened up earlier? The Pittsburgh defense recorded one of its best-ever goal-line stands, stopping the Jets on four straight snaps after first-and-goal on the 2 in the fourth quarter.
But the Pittsburgh offense performed poorly on third-and-short, going five-wide on third-and-goal on the Jets' 2 incompletion and having third-and-short problems in the second half as well. Short yardage is an area Pittsburgh must improve in the two-week break before the Super Bowl. This year the pageant returned to network television, appearing on ABC, after a period of wandering in the wilderness of minor cable on carriers like The Yahtzee Channel. Hands in the Air!
Drop That Textbook!