As the NBA playoffs begin, you might notice that the Phoenix Suns have a chaotic, well-designed pre-game routine.
There is a woof. There is a barking. There are large humans crawling on four legs.
Parts of it kind of look like a pesky hole.
But in all that the handshake occurs. Many of them.
The words are said. Sometimes, they are bad words.
What does the sun do in the world?
It may sound silly, but there is a way for it all. And they are important.
“Everyone has something with each other individually and then we get to beat it when JaVale (McGee) does his job,” said Devin Booker, Suns guard. “It’s a good way to get us ready to go, man. We enjoy doing it, we enjoy it on the road. It keeps us together… It always keeps running out at the same time too.”
“If you watched a lot of teams you were in in the past, you wouldn’t see everyone out at once. Lets you two get together before you go out.”
Are there roles?
McGee deserves a lot of credit. He’s the bonding mastermind who spearheaded similar pre-game actions with teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Next, there are layers of contributors. Cam Payne said Michal Bridges and Dender Eaton bring a lot of energy.
However, each player has a unique handshake with every other teammate – although some take it to the extreme.
“I was the handshake guy in the past, now I’m Michal,” Payne said. “He took the reins, he’s the king now. Sure, he gets 50 handshakes before every game.”
Of course, it’s easier to have fun when the wins pile up. The Suns finished 64-18 this year, a full eight games ahead of the best team in the NBA.
Phoenix has earned the right to enjoy. It is important for the team to follow up on any pre-match antics with star play.
“Really just to get our juices,” Payne said. “We have 82 games, which is a long time, so we just try to find a way to have fun but stay closed. Kind of do it for the fans as well. We are just the best team in the world, just go out there and act like it.”
“Nobody does what we’re doing and gets out there and busting (expletive),” McGee added.
Here are some samples from the Suns’ pre-match routine from the regular season.
Introduce Tori Craig and Aaron Holiday to Pound the Dog pic.twitter.com/WcMfhEAnVk
– Kelan Olson February 13, 2022
Pine and the twins brought it to another level in a pound dog tonight pic.twitter.com/muEGkb5qtl
– Kelan Olson March 5, 2022
Pre-game fun. 🤣 pic.twitter.com/7JoHVtEPBa
– Phoenix Suns Jan 23 2022
Being at home didn’t stop JaVale. 🤣 pic.twitter.com/ftadbRVZFI
– Phoenix Suns March 27, 2022