Ok, I admit up front that this is a rather petty thing to be happy about, but today I am celebrating “Suns Elimination Day” in honor of the Dallas Mavericks clinching the Western Conference’s final playoff spot last night, which simultaneously eliminated the Phoenix Suns from the post season.
I have nothing against the Phoenix Suns. In fact, prior to last season, they were one of my favorite teams in the league to watch. I still like players such as Steve Nash, Leandro Barbosa, and Amare Stoudemire. The problem is, and I’m sure you all know where I’m going here, is that the Suns currently employ the two largest purveyors of Orlando Magic destruction, and fan misery, in the franchise’s short history.
How ironic that Grant Hill left the Magic two seasons ago because he wanted to play for a contender. Well, while we could argue whether the Magic even took an on-court hit from his departure, what can’t be argued is the sweet justice this fan feels by watching the classy, but disloyal, Hill’s fortunes fall when he left us. After all, our fortunes fell from the moment when he came to us.
And what more needs to be said about Shaq? Shaq, in his second to last season in the league (according to him), will be missing the playoffs for the first time since his rookie season with the Magic back in 1992-1993. I guess he forgot that you don’t fake the funk on a nasty dunk.
As if there weren’t enough Shaq-related issues in Magicland, Shaq has turned things up a notch this season with his back-and-forths with Magic coach Stan Van Gundy. Of course, Shaq will never be a player that can just straight up give a compliment to a rival. His back handed “compliments” of Dwight Howard this season actually seemed to bother the younger Superman. It is one thing for Shaq to leave the Magic franchise like he did in 1996. That was bad, for certain. But it is another thing entirely for him to attempt in any way, shape, or warm-up, to mess with the one man capable of making us forget Shaq and even take us to places that Shaq couldn’t and wouldn’t.
So, allow me my moment of being petty. Allow me to get a quick feeling of satisfaction that two players who were so instrumental in the direction our franchise took will now be sitting at home watching us achieve greatness without them, and despite them.