Dick Van Arsdale holds a special place in the hearts of longtime Suns fans. An Indiana native, Van Arsdale attended Indiana University alongside his identical twin brother, Tom Van Arsdale. The NBA Draft split the two up, with Dick going to the New York Knicks and Tom to the Detroit Pistons. In 1966 both were named to the All-Rookie Team.
Two seasons, later the Suns joined the NBA as an expansion team. Van Arsdale was selected in the subsequent expansion draft. He proceeded to play the next nine seasons with the Suns, the remainder of his career. He is thus affectionately known as the “Original Sun” — a claim close enough to being true.
The 6-foot-5 shooting guard was hot from the start of his Suns career, topping 21 points per game in his first three seasons. He was named to the NBA All-Star team all three seasons and the team quickly reached relevance. By 1969-70, the Suns were in the playoffs, making it to the second round. Six years, later the Suns made it to the NBA Finals, losing to the Boston Celtics in 1976.
Twice Van Arsdale topped 10 win shares in a season, including a career-high 10.4 in 1971-72. By 1973-74, he had less of an offensive role with players such as Connie Hawkins and Charlie Scott on the team. That did not stop him from making a strong impact defensively, and that season was named to the All-Defensive Second Team.
By 1976-77, Van Arsdale’s ability to impact the game had waned to the point he was more of a role player. He retired after the season. His basketball career came full circle, as his brother Tom joined him on the Suns for what was the last season for both.
Van Arsdale tallied 63.6 win shares for the Suns, the most in franchise history until Alvan Adams passed him in the mid-1980s. The impressive total still ranks seventh in franchise history, securing his place in Suns lore.