Suns Retorter: Suns, Bucks Evokes Interesting Debate

Suns at Bucks.

Whenever I hear the names of the two franchises that came into the league together in 1968 I think of one thing. It has nothing to do with anything on the court, nor does it even have to do really with basketball.

It has to do with a 1964 Kennedy half-dollar and the fact that it landed on tails.

Whenever the cities of Phoenix and Milwaukee are connected in any sort of way the only thing that comes to mind is the coin-toss that took place in 1969 to determine which franchise would have the right to select UCLA center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, then known as Lew Alcindor, with the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft.

The ironic part, I wasn’t alive to see it happen, nor would I be born to see a majority of Kareem’s career. As a matter of fact, I would be born for 14 years after the event and just six years prior to Abdul-Jabbar’s retirement. Yet, I still know every detail of the story like how fans voted in the Arizona Republic for the team to call heads by the slimmest of margins, that the coin used was the aforementioned 1964 Kennedy half-dollar and then commissioner J. Kennedy Walter tossed said coin in the air with his right hand in his office with both teams on the phone.

That’s because this moment is part of the lore of the Phoenix Suns – a badge of dishonor, you might say. One of those things that all of us know about and some even look at as the origin of some sort of “curse.” It was the closest the franchise has come to the No. 1 overall pick and it cost them a superstar that they would wind up facing numerous times in the 1980s as a member of the Lakers. It also led to the Bucks winning an NBA championship in their fourth season in existence.

But the question is, as a Suns fan, would you trade that moment and the history that came after it with a Bucks fan? Would you take the Suns winning the 1971 title but the Bucks being the fourth winningest franchise in league history?

The answer, for me, is simple. No.

As many people much smarter than I have said, it’s about the journey in life, not the destination.

Yes, Milwaukee has one championship but Suns fans years worth of memories. Plus, isn’t the journey we’ve all be on over the years as fans been more enhanced by the fact that we are all still waiting to win that championship? That it wasn’t handed to us by some flip of a coin but earned through years of sacrifice and passion for the team?

When that day finally comes and a championship banner is hung with the Suns name on it, it will mean more than one in 1971 would have. It will also mean hear Suns and Bucks in the same sentence will be a mere footnote in team history.