Hall of Famer Charles Barkley says Phoenix Suns is the top sports team in the city over Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Coyotes and Arizona Cardinals.
One NBA site counted down the 74 best NBA players of all-time in honor of the league’s 74-year history.
Although the Phoenix Suns have never won a championship, some great players have played for the franchise through the years.
You can’t tell the story of the NBA without including some of them.
The site explained how it came up with its rankings: “ESPN’s NBA expert panel voted on thousands of head-to-head matchups, taking into consideration both total career value and peak performance.”
Five former Suns players made the team.
Vince Carter, who played with the Suns in the 2010-11 season, was ranked No. 55.
Carter averaged 13.5 points per game and 3.6 rebounds per game during his lone season in Phoenix.
Andrew Lopez wrote: “Twenty-two seasons, spanning four decades. Carter will likely be remembered for two things in his NBA career: his dunks early on and his longevity late. Carter is the only player in NBA history with at least 2,000 3-pointers and 800 blocks in his career. When it became apparent his days as a starter were done, Carter seamlessly shifted into second gear with his career and became a coveted veteran bench presence.”
Jason Kidd, who was on the Suns from 1996-2001, came in at No. 35.
Kidd averaged 14.4 points per game and 9.7 assists per game during his five seasons in Phoenix.
Ohm Youngmisuk wrote: “With Gary Payton’s hard-love tutelage, Kidd lived up to his pre-NBA hype, becoming one of the greatest point guards to play the game. Kidd dominated games with his passing, rebounding, defense and ability to spark fast breaks; his 12,091 assists and 2,684 steals are second only to John Stockton in NBA history. Kidd, who has two Olympic gold medals and one NBA title (with Dallas), took what was previously a laughingstock franchise in New Jersey to two straight NBA Finals. And despite entering the league with little to no jumper, Kidd made 1,988 3-pointers, 10th all time.”
Steve Nash, who won two MVP awards during his 10 seasons in Phoenix, was ranked No. 30.
Nash averaged 14.4 points per game and 9.4 assists in Phoenix from 1996-98 and 2004-12.
Dave McMenamin wrote: “Nash found a perfect partner in coach Mike D’Antoni, whose “seven seconds or less” offense empowered the back-to-back league MVP (2005 and 2006) to use his expert handles and passing genius. The Suns, in turn, became one of the great teams to never win a title. For a nine-year stretch in Dallas and Phoenix in the 2000s, Nash led the league’s most efficient offense. He is third in career assists and led the league in that category five of his 18 seasons. He was also a marksman, shooting 42.8% from 3 for his career.”
Charles Barkley, who played for the Suns from 1992-96, was ranked No. 23.
Barkley averaged 23.4 points per game during his time in Phoenix. He won an MVP award and led the Suns to an NBA finals appearance.
Nick Friedell wrote: “The Hall of Fame forward carved out a niche on the floor by being a double-double machine. Barkley earned the 1992-93 MVP award while leading Phoenix to the NBA Finals, and he won gold medals for Team USA in ’92 and ’96 Olympics. He won the rebounding title for Philadelphia in 1986-87, despite generously being listed at 6-6. Off the floor, the affable Barkley became arguably the most popular basketball analyst ever while working for TNT’s ‘Inside the NBA.'”
Shaquille O’Neal, who played for the Suns during the 2007-8 and 2008-09 seasons, was ranked No. 10.
O’Neal averaged 16.5 points per game and nine rebounds per game in Arizona.
Frieddell wrote: “The Hall of Fame center transformed the game with a combination of agility and explosiveness and size, the likes of which the league had never seen. A four-time NBA champion and three-time Finals MVP, O’Neal averaged a double-double during a career that spanned almost two decades. O’Neal became an All-Star 15 times and earned the 1999-2000 MVP award. The fun-loving big man used his outsize personality to become a global pitchman and analyst after retiring.”
Former Arizona State guard James Harden, now with the Houston Rockets, was ranked No. 32 on the list.
Michael Jordan was No. 1 in the rankings, followed by LeBron James.
You can see ESPN’s complete list of the Top 74 players in NBA history here.