For the first time since the 1990s, Phoenix Suns are returning purple “sunbeams” images to their regular rotation. The skins will serve as the team’s Classic Edition uniform throughout the 2022-23 season.
The sunburst uniform, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, debuted on the opening night of the 1992-93 season, which ended with a trip to the NBA Finals. The remake has a better fit and lighter weight.
“Everything was new that season,” said Mark West, a center for the Suns for eight seasons, who currently serves as the team’s charity ambassador. “It’s impressive, just to have something new. It’s really all about looking forward to the new year.”
After then-general manager Jerry Colangelo set up a new ownership group to buy the Suns in 1987, a series of initiatives were launched, culminating in the 1992-93 season.
The team was prepared to move out of the Arizona Veterans Memorial Arena and into its new central arena, with former Suns All-Star Paul Westphal named head coach and power forward of the team. Dream Team Charles Barkley was acquired through a transaction from Philadelphia 76ers.
“It was the first season after the Barcelona Olympics with the Dream Team, and the NBA was put on the global map,” said Graham Wincott, senior marketing manager for the Suns. “[Getting Barkley] really put [the Suns] beyond the edge, [finishing] with the best record in the league and he won the MVP. It has told many people around the world who the Sun is. “
“Jerry Colangelo really wanted to see a new, clean, modern look,” said Tom Ambrose, the team’s former VP of marketing. “Our old uniform had a western and sun-style typeface, but it was on the side of the shorts. He wanted a change. He wanted to see some ideas.”
As Ambrose recalls, he started an exploratory jersey design meeting with Colangelo and the team’s executives by presenting a toy rubber chicken for the first time.
“Don’t be a chicken,” he joked to the group. “Don’t be afraid of change.”
From there, the team skimmed through sketches that featured everything from a sun-dominated font-free tank top on top of text-heavy shorts, to purple or black with a sun-kissed glow. from one corner of the jersey.
While purple and orange have been the team colors since the franchise was founded in 1968, the original redesigned turf for Colangelo also includes a wild card option – an overhaul of the city colors. Dark green and silver.
“It was shot down pretty quickly,” said Ambrose, laughing. “I’ll be honest. I don’t like Dallas Cowboys, but I like their uniform. That’s why I thought, ‘Well, let’s see if they want to make such a big difference.’
Instead, the purple and orange hues have remained the same, with the final sunbeam image being reversed from the bottom corner position to a more prominent spot on the chest, according to distinct feedback from Colangelo and Ambrose. The inscription on the front of the tank was changed from “Phoenix” to “Suns” and the jersey number was placed under the basketball.
Throughout the 1990s, large, sublimated graphics became the NBA standard, whether it was an oversized dinosaur at the center of the expansive Raptors uniform or the “Big Hawk” dominating the center of the game. faded Atlanta jerseys.
Suns was also one of the first teams to opt for a new mesh application process, creating a clear view throughout the decade.
“We enjoyed it,” Ambrose said. “We love being on top. Once we fought with that ‘Well, let’s not change it too much’ feeling that we all have then we said, ‘Let’s do our best. ‘”
Before annual replacement jerseys were the norm, the Sun had only two options and wore their purple sunshine glow in 52 outings during the 1992-93 regular season and the knockout stages. next. According to Wincott, the league currently requires teams to wear their Classic edition for a minimum of four games throughout the season, although the Suns have plans for more.
“We will go further than that,” Wincott said. “As it stands, we’ll be wearing them for at least a quarter of the game at home. Once we know what our top lane opponent has picked, then we’ll definitely include it in some of the games as well. road match.”
According to Wincott, throughout the season, Classic Edition home games will also host a “90s immersive experience,” with ex-players on hand, themed graphics NBA Jam and playlists from the era.
While the team only re-weared the black version of the sunburst jersey during the 2012-13 season as a “Hardwood Classics”, apparel company Mitchell & Ness has regularly released reverse Suns jerseys featuring former players. Prime in each of the original colors, including purple and white.
The brand even launched a $400 black version with luxury sportswear designer Don C in its “No Name” series in 2018, removing all letters from the uniform to focus on sunburst graphics. Actor Jonah Hill’s casual outing in a jersey went viral that year.
“We intend to ship him another one,” Wincott joked.
– Phoenix Suns (@Suns) September 6, 2018
In recent years, the Suns’ “Valley” replacement jersey has become the most popular outfit since the team overhauled their uniform in 2000. Wincott says that on day one of the Valley edition, the team had sell more shirts in a day. had during the previous season. Despite the fanfare, the Suns will not wear the black and faded Valley jersey for the 2022-23 season. They are also a fan favorite whenever the team polls supporters about the uniform.
“It wouldn’t hurt to replace the most popular shirt of all time with the most popular shirt of all time,” said Wincott.