This past Saturday, the Phoenix Suns held their annual Suns and Stars Gala at the Sheraton in Downtown Phoenix. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the event this year, and it was quite the swanky affair. Money raised from the event benefited Suns charities.
Every Suns player, from Steve Nash to Taylor Griffin, was in attendance, along with head coach Alvin Gentry and owner Robert Sarver. The event kicked off with fans and media mingling with the Suns players and staff in one of the huge ballrooms inside the Sheraton. For about an hour, fans were allowed to snap photos with their favorite players, as well as get a chance to ask players questions. It was during this time I had a conversation with Suns starting center Robin Lopez about the film X-Men Origins: Wolverine. We both agreed that it sucked.
From there, the event moved into an even bigger ballroom where the 1,000 or so people in attendance were treated to a three-course meal. During this time, numerous members of the Phoenix Suns came up on the stage in the ballroom to thank many of the people and charities that make this event possible every year. Attendees were also subject to some skits performed by players, including one involving Steve Nash in which head athletic trainer Aaron Nelson had to rush on the stage to assist Nash with a nosebleed. Another such skit was a video with Leandro Barbosa and the Gorilla introducing Al McCoy to the audience. In the video, the Blur and the Gorilla performed the famous dance originally done by Paul Simon and Chevy Chase in the video for Paul Simon’s hit, “You Can Call Me Al.”
During dessert, former Suns star Tom Chambers and Suns announcer Tom Leander held an auction for charity. Fans were able to bid on items such as a road trip with the Phoenix Suns to LA for against the much-hated Los Angeles Lakers next season, a slumber party for their child and 14 of their friends at US Airways Center with Jared Dudley leading the way with fun and games or the chance to play a game against a team including Chambers, Dan Majerle and Suns GM Steve Kerr.
The evening concluded with a performance by Kool and the Gang. This is when things got really interesting. As Kool and the Gang played through many of their classic songs, many Suns personalities could be seen getting down on the dance floor. Leander and fellow announcer Eddie Johnson were both toward the front of the stage dancing and singing along to every song. Toward the back, Sarver was showing off his moves. During the band’s performance of “Ladies Night,” Suns players Goran Dragic, Earl Clark, Griffin and Lopez joined the band on the stage to sing along and work the crowd with some dance moves of their own.
All in all, the night was an amazing experience, and I’m quite thankful to the Suns organization for inviting me out. Good times for good cause, what can beat that?