With a first-round pick acquired in the Larry Nance trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Suns selected shooting guard Dan Majerle in the 1988 NBA Draft. An unpopular pick among fans, Majerle quickly won them over by filling the void left by Nance. He threw down impressive dunks, earning him the nickname “Thunder Dan” for his efforts.
Majerle played in Phoenix for seven seasons to start his career, at times starting and others as a key player off the bench. Three times he was named an NBA All-Star while with Phoenix, an achievement equal parts his play on-the-court, as well as his popularity.
His first nod came in 1992 when he was primarily as a bench player. Yet, he still averaged 17.3 points and 5.9 rebounds per game that season.
During his tenure, the Suns made a push towards a title, falling just short again and again. The Suns lost in the first round just once during his time with the team, advancing at least to the second round six of seven years.
In 1989 and 1990, they fell just short of a shot at the “Bad Boys” Pistons. Finally in 1993, the Suns broke through to the NBA Finals, only to lose to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.
In 1995, a retooling Suns team traded him to the Cavaliers in a package for big man “Hot Rod” Williams, sending Majerle full-circle. He would play six seasons in Cleveland and with the Miami Heat before returning to Phoenix in 2001-02 for one last season before retiring. His Suns career ended with 52 win shares and a number of key contributions to winning basketball for the team.