Suns’ political gesture, Seven Seconds or Less

In addition to winning the first game of what promises to be a hard fought series against their long-time nemeses, the San Antonio Spurs, the Phoenix Suns are speaking out against the anti-immigrant law signed by Gov. Jan Brewer in Arizona.

Each Suns member will add the Spanish word “Los” to their uniform for their next game to signal their opposition to the law and their support of Phoenix’s Latino community.

Their timing is deliberate.  Tonight’s game falls on Cinco de Mayo, so the team thought it even more appropriate to take their stand on this day.

Steve Nash, the first basketball player to speak out against the second Gulf War, has also gone on the record against the recent legislation:

“I think it’s fantastic,” Nash said after Tuesday’s practice. “I think the law is very misguided. I think it’s, unfortunately, to the detriment of our society and our civil liberties. I think it’s very important for us to stand up for things we believe in. As a team and as an organization, we have a lot of love and support for all of our fans. The league is very multicultural. We have players from all over the world, and our Latino community here is very strong and important to us.”

 This is not the first time in the past few years that the Suns have been trendsetters.

Under Mike D’Antoni, they adopted the run-and-gun “Second Seconds or Less” offense in which they sought as often as possible to shoot within the first seven seconds on the 24-second clock.

The approach thrilled basketball purists-Bill Simmons wrote a column dedicated to heralding the end of the SSOL era-and earned Nash back-to-back MVPs, but only got the team as far as the conference finals twice. 

It also got them a book.

Sports Illustrated writer Jack McCallum spent a year with the Suns during the 2005-2006 season.  The sights and sounds he observed are the basis for this engaging book.

McCallum takes the reader behind the scenes and into the coaches’ and players’ lives.  Clearly enamored of the Suns’ style of basketball, McCallum nevertheless writes about points of tension and the pain they feel when they fall short of their goal of a championship, this time against the Dirk Nowitzki-led Dallas Mavericks.  The book opens in the locker room after their final loss, with an emotionally depleted Nash unable to answer his coach’s summons for a final good word to close out the season.

Whether this year’s version can get past the Spurs will be answered during the next two weeks.  But Los Suns have made a powerful political statement that may ultimately earn them more acclaim and notoriety, depending on one’s persuasion, than the previous up-tempo style McCallum ably chronicled.

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2 responses to “Suns’ political gesture, Seven Seconds or Less

  1. Dany Fleming

    Sports and politics do mix. I thought the NBA Player’s Assoc. came out with a strong statement, as well.

    “We applaud the actions of Phoenix Suns players and management and join them in taking a stand against the misguided efforts of Arizona lawmakers,” the NBAPA said. “We are consulting with our members and our player leadership to determine the most effective way for our union to continue to voice our opposition to this legislation.”

    According to Popovich, the Spurs also looked to have Los Spurs jerseys made, in solidarity with the Suns position, but couldn’t get away jerseys made in time.

    Though the sports products market may push back in order to keep their players sanitized, I hope players will be inspired by this move and set a trend towards speaking out more publicly. More of Ali-, Gibson-, BJ King-, Navratilova-era athletes and less of the pandering-to-markets Jordan-, Woods- era athlete could be a powerful thing. Of course, that also mean more Curt Shilling.

    So, do you think Invictus provided any inspiration for this move?

    • jeffkellylowenstein3

      Amen. Hope all is well with you. I don’t know about the Invictus influence, but it could be there.

      Jeff

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