The Suns of God

If Our Lady of Guadalupe can show up in a yucca plant on Van Buren, surely Christ can go strong to the glass.

In December, Kurt Rambis came to Phoenix in a trade with Charlotte. Fans have taken to wearing thick black- rimmed glasses with geek tape on the nose bridge in support of the bespectacled Rambis. National television audiences scanning our stands see geeks a-gawking here in Phoenix and we don't care what you hipsters in Chicago think.

Into this rotation, swing Eddie Johnson and Jeff Hornacek, two of the sweetest shooters in all of basketball.

Parents were the first to notice that something was up. The Suns have sold growth charts with life-size pictures of Dan Majerle on them. Suddenly, kids with the souvenir were sprouting three and four inches without explanation.

Majerle just grinned that crooked grin.
Then someone figured out that each of the Phoenix Suns banked at a different savings and loan.

The civic-minded ballplayers were adopting S&L's in the hope of turning them around with an enormous infusion of NBA salaries.

Visiting NBA teams are booked into poor Charlie Keating's collapsing Phoenician resort.

Suns rookie Greg Grant, out of Trenton State, declined to participate in this year's slam-dunk competition so that he could visit the homeless.

The enlightened management of the Suns renegotiated contracts before they were due and without asking. The same fundamentalist Christian executives realized that, public relations-wise, the community might accept all of these good acts more readily if they sprang from more than one spiritual fountain.

Colangelo has asked the guys to be a bit more ecumenical in their approach to the Lord. Ever one to set an example, Jerry reportedly has contracted with Mormon missionaries to erect the new arena. Eddie Johnson has shouldered his share of the responsibility and agreed to convert to Judaism. Tom Chambers has been seen reading the Koran, and Kenny Battle has agreed to try to do without meat on Fridays. While much of this has gone unnoticed, the effect cannot be denied.

The Phoenix Suns are the very best thing about living in Phoenix these days.

People go to a Suns game and feel good. They drink beer, yet do not hurl insults at the opposition or start fires in the parking lot. Fathers tell their sons about a time before real estate collapsed.

Recently as they watched KJ slash to the basket and dish off to the hardest- working four eyes in the NBA, Kurt Rambis, for an easy two, utility rake Keith Turley was overheard commenting to Karl Eller, "You know, I really do feel like we ought to lower those electric rates."

Even Colangelo is not immune to this infectious joy. He recently turned to a visitor in the press box and said he needed to apologize to Tom Fitzpatrick for evicting him from a game last year.

There is something going on with these Phoenix Suns. When Hornacek and Chambers were both hurt last week, Cotton's new assistant, a guy name of Hayzoos, was seen laying his hands on the injuries.

Normally when the Lord's shock troops bang on my door on a Saturday morning and want to read tracts to me, I call out the Blue Tick hound and scatter the earnest. But when I watch the Suns being introduced at the Coliseum, and KJ and Thunder Dan are shoving each other and doing that little dance they all do before tip-off, I find myself rooting for the Christians and yelling for them to bring on the lions from Los Angeles, and Portland, and Salt Lake, and Detroit.

Now some of you free thinkers out there are going to be skeptical of the idea that God takes basketball seriously. But if Our Lady of Guadalupe can show up in a yucca plant on Van Buren, surely Christ can go strong to the glass.

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