As we move into Part 2 of this series on international Suns fans, I’d just like to say it’s pretty amazing that I got responses from every continent except for Antarctica (but I bet some polar bears like the Suns).
You may or may not be surprised to know I got the most responses from Australia. You might remember that group of Suns fans from Australia and I believe New Zealand that met on a Suns fan board and then took an East Coast road trip before ending up in Phoenix to watch the Suns. For whatever reason, Australians love the Suns!
One other observation I made is that Barkley’s magical 1992-93 team created many, many Suns fans worldwide. I find this particularly interesting because, of course, that’s when I started following the team, but how couldn’t I have with the city practically stopping when the Suns made that run?
Many other countries were just starting to get into basketball at that time, and that special squad made enough of an impact to impel many new worldwide basketball fans to become followers of the Suns, at least among the people who didn’t want to root for Michael Jordan.
Thanks to everyone who wrote in. I’ve really enjoyed learning more about what it’s like to be a Suns fan abroad.
And without further ado, here’s the rest of the responses:
Bastian Grostol, Denmark
I’ve been a PROUD Suns fan since I was about 12 years old – and I live in Denmark! (Yup, you got that right)
Living in a country where curling is a bigger sport than bball (I may be one of about 20 real Suns fans in the entire country), I didn’t even get to see a NBA ball game ’till I was 12 years old, when I was in Thailand. That’s where I saw the Suns whooping the Heat, and I’ve been hooked on them ever since!
One of the smaller TV-channels in Denmark has finally started to show NBA games, but only once a week, so I’m a big fan of NBA League Pass Broadband.
Thanks to the different time zones (there’s a six hour difference between the US and DK), I have to sit up in the middle of the night to catch the Suns games live (the Suns are kind of the reason where I’m sleeping through my education) – but it’s worth it!
GO SUNS! – all the way from Denmark.
Nick Sharratt, United Kingdom
I’m from London, England, and started following the Suns from the age of around 12 when I first started playing and becoming interested in basketball. The first I ever saw of the NBA was a highlights video, and whilst all the other kids chose Jordan as their favourite player, it was Charles Barkley who stood out to me. I naturally started following the Suns after that.
Muhammad Adam, Indonesia
I’m 16 years old, and I live in Asia, I’ve been a Phoenix Suns fans since 2006. In Indonesia there are no TV channels that show the NBA. Since Michael Jordan’s retirement, basketball become less popular in Indonesia, so I’m so happy my family has satellite TV.
Ashley Rossouw, New Zealand
I have been a suns fan since I was 15 in 1993. I think it was because that was the year that they were in the Finals against the Bulls and I was real interested in the city of Phoenix because of the hot weather and how it hardly ever rains there. Seemed like my ideal place to live. We get ESPN here so probably watch about five Suns games a year on TV and follow the rest on the Internet.
Gergo Murath, Hungary
I’m a 22-year-old university student living in Hungary, and I’ve been supporting the Suns from sometime around ‘97. Back then it was nearly impossible to catch any NBA games on TV, but I watched each one of them and had an abundance of Upper Deck cards, including a Suns collection of 40-something. Jason Kidd has always been a player I’ve loved so after that trade the Suns really came into my focus, and soon we had better coverage as well, prompting me to support them even more. Ever since then I’ve been an avid follower, enjoying the D’Antoni years the most (just like most fans I suppose), and having to prove again and again that “no, I didn’t latch onto the bandwagon in 2005,” which after a time can get a bit annoying. Anyhow: I’ve been living on Planet Orange for quite some time now, and I’m happy to report that the number of Suns fans in Hungary is increasing year after year.
Juan F Rodriguez Zamora, Costa Rica
I used to follow the Suns since Barkley era, however I really became a fan when I was in Chandler last year for over six months in an assignment. I’m not sure if the Suns are the most popular team here, because the NBA doesn’t have coverage on national channels. What I do know is that they are pretty popular among Intel employees.
Rohan Best, Australia
I’m a Suns fan from Australia. I’ve been following them since ’93. I used to love dunking on people with Barkley in the EA sports games NBA Live and when I figured out that Barkley was on the Suns I started supporting them. The ’93 playoffs charge was an awesome time to ingrain a lifelong love of the Suns, with so many memorable moments. I think falling short in the way they did to Jordan’s three-peating Bulls made me and probably all Suns fans that much hungrier for the next opportunity…even though it hasn’t come yet.
The Suns would probably be one of the more popular teams here, possibly owing to the timing of their success in ’93 coinciding with the peak period of basketball and NBA interest in Australia. Basketball was very popular in Australia in the early to mid 1990′s, but hasn’t been supported to the same extent lately.
Following the Suns has gotten easier in recent times. We’ve gotten about 2 NBA games a week on cable (not that many people have cable in Australia), and last season they started showing another 2 games a week on a new free digital sports channel.
Kevin Parris, Virgin Islands
Out of all the basketball fans I know they are only 2 Raja fans myself included but since he left that number drop. It’s mostly Duncan’s town but I’m not I wish we could just beat them and win the whole thing.
Daniel Ma, Taiwan
I was actually just a NASH fan, so naturally I had to like whichever team he signed with, but the 2005 Suns I just LOVED. I’m from Taiwan, so the live games are on in the morning here, and the Suns are always worth skipping class for. I think a fair amount of my countrymen like the Suns, too (run n gun Suns; not Shaq era), so here’s hoping the suns can revert to their old ways (and maybe play a little D).
Artur Mascarenhas, Brazil
Being born in a soccer-oriented country doesn’t do you any good, if you enjoy other sports. In Brazil, 95% of the sports media is directed to soccer, so all the other sports have to fight for a little spotlight now and then.
That being said, basketball is not a very popular sport in Brazil. I can think about soccer, Formula 1, volleyball, and tennis as sports more broadcasted on TV than basketball. I remember my first contact with NBA was in 1991 playing Lakers vs. Celtics at Sega Genesis. I was 12 years old and had heard a little about a few players like, Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and, of course, Michael Jordan. As, by nature, I don’t like going with the bandwagons, I’d like to choose a team without one of these superstars and, and by playing this videogame I fell in love with that purple team, that had a tall guy wearing jersey #24 that could dunk (and NEVER miss) from the 3-point line. A new Phoenix Suns fan was born.
Today, these players are very popular by well-informed people, which still is a minority here in Brazil. Leandrinho is a popular athlete and became a fixture on the celebrity news after his girlfriend (a hottie soap-opera actress) got pregnant and recently gave birth to their first child.
Paari Palaniswami, Australia
Hi. I’m a 17-year-old boy from Melbourne, Australia. I started playing basketball at age 11. One day one of my mates told me about a Steve Nash Slam magazine cover while we were waiting for training to start. I went home and looked him up. Nash was the first NBA player I heard about not named Michael Jordan. But then again Michael Jordan was more of a myth to me. I loved Steve Nash’s playing style and watched all the footage I could get my hands on. It was hard to watch full NBA games in Australia, so me and my mates spent most of our time on the NBA.com video section looking at flashes of Steve Nash’s brilliance while eating up our precious bandwidth. Soon I heard about Amare, the guy dunking at the end of all Nash highlights. The 2 of the 1-2 punch.
Every now and then you wonder why do I go for this team. Why not the Hornets, the Knicks or the Lakers (or for some more selfish people, Kobe)?
I’ve never been to a Phoenix Suns game, but this Christmas me and my dad are going to America and that’s not only the top of my list, that is my list. I want to see as much of the NBA and the Suns as I can. So when I’m yelling at my computer screen at 4 in the morning in my underwear I can go, ‘Hey man, at least I’ve been to Phoenix.’