Suns foes: Bye bye Bowen

Suns fans will never have to see Bruce Bowen on the US Airways Center court again, why couldn't this have been the case five years ago? (REUTERS/Rick Scuteri)

Suns fans will never have to see Bruce Bowen on the US Airways Center floor again. Why couldn't this have been the case five years ago? (REUTERS/Rick Scuteri)

The Phoenix Suns will finally never have to endure elbows to the sternum, knees to the testicular region, and stomps to the Achilles from ex-Spurs forward Bruce Bowen ever again; the only problem is, his retirement came just a couple of years too late.

Suns arch nemesis Bruce Bowen, 38, announced his retirement to the San Antonio media this afternoon. After being dealt to Milwaukee in a trade that brought Richard Jefferson to the Spurs, Bowen was waived and was expected to sign with a championship contender. Instead he obviously opted to hang up his shoes, and more importantly his dirty play.

As Suns fans very well know, Bowen helped bring three championships to San Antonio, two of which could have easily gone to the Phoenix Suns. I can’t help but loathe all of the times that Bowen’s foul play resulted in a Suns missed shot, turnover, or technical foul that ultimately led to a Spurs victory.

Yes, the news of Bowen’s NBA exit brings a smile to my face, but it also reminds me of all of the heartbreak No. 12 and his running mates bestowed upon the Suns.

The below-the-belt knee to Nash in the 2007 playoffs along with the continual tripping and kicking of Amare Stoudemire were all integral elements to a Spurs team that so frequently snatched the NBA championship from the Suns.

Needless to say, Bowen’s unruly play and big shots made him undoubtedly Suns fans’ most hated player during the so-called Seven Seconds or Less era. Bowen’s hatred in Phoenix got me thinking about some other players that easily land on the “Phoenix Suns hate list.” The list of players from the early 90′s to present day is as follows:

1. John Paxson — No, Paxson never kneed any Suns downstairs or hip-checked them into a scorer’s table, but it is his game-winning three-pointer in Game 6 of the 1993 Finals alone that lands him No. 1 on the Phoenix Suns hate list.

The ’93 team was set to head to Game 7 of the NBA Finals until Paxson sunk a left-wing three-pointer with three seconds left to put the Bulls up one. Paxson is by no means a bad guy and is even a solid VP of Basketball Operations for the Bulls, but when a player single-handedly takes the Larry O’Brien trophy out from under you, he will never be forgiven.

2. Robert Horry — For many citizens of Planet Orange, “Cheap Shot Bob” may be No. 1 on this list. What some Suns fans forget is that the Horry hatred began long before he put on a Spurs uniform. Horry killed the Suns with big three-pointers in his days with the Rockets in the mid-’90s, but his falling out in Phoenix grew even greater when he was sporting the purple and orange after being traded from Houston to Phoenix. During the 1996-97 season, Horry threw a towel in the face of then-Suns head coach Danny Ainge. Horry was quickly traded to the Lakers for Ced Ceballos after the incident.

Sure, Horry killed the Suns with a slew of big shots throughout his tenure with the Spurs, but it was the big hip check that has Suns fans losing sleep at night. During Game 4 of the 2007 West Semifinals, Robert Horry blasted Steve Nash into the scorer’s table, leading Boris Diaw and Amare Stoudemire to leave the bench and ultimately be suspended for Game 5 of the series (thank you, David Stern). The 2006-07 Suns team was a special group, and if Horry never checked Nash into the scorer’s table who knows how far they would have gone? My guess is NBA championship.

3. Bruce Bowen – (See above)

4. Mario Elie — As most Suns fans distinctly remember, in Game 7 of the 1995 West Semis, Elie knocked down a corner pocket three with seven seconds left to complete Houston’s comeback from a 3-1 deficit. It was not just the shot and elimination from the playoffs that still haunts Suns fans, it is the Kiss of Death that Elie blew to the crowd after sinking the game-winner. And wouldn’t you know it, the man who threw the pass to an open Elie was none other than a young Robert Horry. Ironically enough, Elie played his last game in the NBA in a Suns uniform before retiring in 2007.

5. Jerry Stackhouse – Readers may be wondering, why is Jerry Stackhouse on this list? Just to refresh your memories, in Game 2 of the Suns’ second-round matchup vs. the Dallas Mavericks in 2005, Stackhouse came from behind and  sent Joe Johnson barreling to the floor as he rose up for a dunk attempt. Johnson fractured the orbital bone in his face and was forced to miss the rest of the series. The Suns won this series 4-2 despite the injury, but JJ was unable to return to the lineup until Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals against the Spurs.

Without Johnson, the Suns lost the first two games of the series and were eventually eliminated by the Spurs, 4-1. Were the Suns a Joe Johnson away from an NBA championship? I think so.

  • Andrew Markopoulos

    Dismantled the aging Pistons you mean.

  • ZoDogg34

    I’ve gotta put Kobe the Rapist on that list. The most classless individual in professional sports.

  • Jason

    The Suns had the best record in the league in 2005 but everyone knew that the Spurs were the best team that whole year, and only missed a sweep because they lost concentration in the closeout game 4 and deviated from their gameplan to stop the Suns' running.

    IMO the Suns had no chance in 2005, with or without Joe Johnson. 2007 was a different story though.

  • Joe

    Whine much? This is the worst thing about Suns fans. They would win the title every year, if not for someone they hate. Then they incessantly whine about it forever.

  • isaak

    mike schmitz face it your team sucks bruce bowen and the spurs are way better than anybody who is or was on the suns roster. bruce is also one of those guys that had he been on your team you and everyone in phoenix would be on his jock.

  • moses

    How can Micheal Jordan not be on this list? The reacuring theme is the suns don't have the heart to take the hits and keep on coming. 7 seconds or less may work in the regular season, but defense wins championships and 3 point % drops in the playoffs. Regardless of suspensions the suns would never win a chip anyway. Their philosophy wasn't a winning mentality. You can see how well it's serving the Knicks. They had a LOT of talent for that type of offense. IT just wasn't the type that could win a title. The only Suns team that even had a shot at a title was Barkley's suns and they couldn't beat the Bulls…for more reasons than John Paxon.

  • jc

    zodogg34 is obviously a newb nba fan. wow kobe classless. get out of 03-04 already. he wasnt the one clotheslining people trying to make a name for themselves. raja bell. he wasnt the one whining about touches and virtually got himself traded twice. shawn marion. he wasnt the one whos too lazy to play defense and just try to dunk. but everytime he gets hit hes softer than dough. amare. and hes not the one who had two coaches leave, change a whole winning offensive scheme and show up not in shape, and got himself traded to just mess up another team. shaq. blame yourselves suns. you guys made your own undoing. your team has as many retired numbers as the celdicks. but at least theyve won titles…ouch.kobe>suns

  • CRL

    Wow!!!! Imagine, 3 out of the 5 listed "hated players", Horry, Bowen, & Elie, all won championship ring(s), with the Spurs. Poor, poor, pitifull Suns.

  • Todd

    You forgot to blame Tony Parker for having a head. If he didn't, Nash could not have run into it and start the uncontrolled bleeding that cost you game 1.

    Somehow, Bruce Bowen is "dirty" and Raja Bell is "agressive". When your stock in trade is defense and you are successful, the popular offensive players complain and call you dirty to gain an advantage with the officials. The more successful you are, the more player jump on the hating bandwagon. Eventually, it becomes a "fact" that your dirty.

    If you want to make up your own mind, find a Spurs game from 2005 where Bruce was matched against a great scorer. Watch him the whole time he was on the court. Watch his position. Watch his feet. Watch is effort. Maybe he wasn't as bad as everyone says.

  • J-Dog

    The Sacramento Kings blog did the same kind of list sometime in the last year or so. Guess who came out on TOP of their list? Mr. Horry!

    Maybe you guys can create an anti-Horry support group.

  • jay thatch

    as a long time suns fan, i don't hate paxon, he just crushed the youthful hope i had for the suns championship and forever changed the way i root for sports for the rest of my life. I do however hate with a passion horry, bowen, and elie. i think duncan should be on this list as well. anyone who has ever watched him incessantly whine to the officials, and get preferential treatment for it should combine to rue this type of player/behavior.

  • twalter

    Horry was the worst. Suns had that title on lock. It was not even basketball related, it was a cheap shot. Still hate the if you take one step on the court rule, even if you don't get involved with the fight. – Latest NBA Trade Rumor

  • duaneofly

    So even though in 07 the Jazz had killed you guys during the regular season, 3 games to 1, right? You're positive you would have spanked them in the WCF if Horry didn't "cause" Amare and Boris to get suspended? Its possible, but unlikely.

    Also lets not forget the one year you didn't have to face the Spurs in the playoffs, 2006, you still got eliminated by the Mavs. Did they play dirty too? I bet they did, and if they hadn't then of course you guys would have easily beaten the Heat right?

    The Suns as an organization and team I can and do respect, but you fans are pathetic.

  • pollackj


  • flopper

    “Robert Horry blasted Steve Nash into the scorers table causing Boris Diaw and Amare Stoudemire leave the bench”

    1) Nash embellished that hit as if he were a striker taking a dive in the penalty box

    2) Horry didn’t “cause” Diaw and Stoudemire to leave the bench. They chose to do so. You could say Horry’s hip check “led to” those two leaving the bench, but it didn’t directly cause it. Complain about the league inconsistently enforcing that leave-the-bench rule but don’t blame Horry for their failure to maintain composure.

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  • Blazerfan

    Do you really think these players are responsible for the downfall of the Suns playoff hopes? How about the cheap owner and lack of leadership from the front office. Really bringing TP in for half season and letting him go? This has been the issue for years even when they accidentally land talent, which they do regularly. Watch Nash or Stoudamire will be gone before the tread deadline.

  • stephen

    stfu flopper. we all know what he meant

    dont get tecnical this is basketball not english class

  • Bushka

    Ahh nothing like parochialism gone mad. A few minor corrections. The horry hip check occured in game four, the suns were already down two games to one at that point and lost that one as well. They had a full team back for game six and lost that one as well. So to recap the suns special group lost in six.

    By the way to have a championship stolen you generally have to make the finals first. The cavs from last season, the mavs team that was blitzes by the warriors and countless other red hot regular season one seeds atest to the fact that winning a championship is harder than getting a great regular season record.

  • Bushka

    Writing this on iPhone so difficult to read it I just wanted to obviously correct the fourth game error the suns won.

  • LCD screen cleaner

    My wish for suns fans is that this version of the suns be forgotten. that seven seconds or less be erased forever. it not only gives suns fans undeserved entitlement, but fans end up hatin guys who beat them. they're not even men.

    erase it. forget this era. it's pussy pathetic.

  • Zocalo

    In 2005 you were beyond horrible at stopping the Spurs… the same Spurs who couldn’t score in the finals. If you allow the Spurs to score 40 point qtrs that says that you pretty much aren’t a championship team.

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  • chris

    Bowen was the dirtiest player in the history of the NBA. Without shame or remorse, he tarnished the game and the commissioner should have had the balls to suspend him for every one of his cheap shots. If his spurs teams had played the old champion pistons, Bowen would have been down and counted out on the hardwood for the first cheap shot. Someone needed to step up and ring his bell, and I was always disappointed that no one responded to his cheap shots. None of the spurs’ titles with him are valid, IMO.


    leave it up to spurs fans to come to VALLEY OF THE SUNS.COM, and hate on the suns. theryre too insecure with themselves.