Bank Shots: It’s good to be loved, better to be despised (and Steve Nash flopped)


Darth Timmy

Darth Timmy

For reasons not entirely clear, fans of the Phoenix Suns tend to show more than a little bit of hostility towards anything related to the San Antonio Spurs.

Okay, so perhaps there are a few reasons. Tony Parker constantly torches Steve Nash and the Suns defense, Manu Ginobili hits the floor a lot, Tim Duncan hit a big 3-pointer, and Bruce Bowen and Robert Horry just flat out hit a few Phoenix Suns players.

If that weren’t bad enough, Gregg Popovich and RC Buford have seemingly gone out of their way time and time again just to acquire players famous for pissing off Suns fans (Mario Elie, Antonio McDyess). Popovich, after all, just loves to toy with their minds. (Right, Shaq?)

Still, one would think that after releasing the Dragic and Steve Nash beating the Spurs with one eye tied behind his back last year, that bygones could be bygones, right? Well last week the Phoenix Suns official website published a list of the top-10 Suns villains, and truth be told it’s at worst a little insulting, and at best woefully misguided.

The insults aren’t so much the cheap shots taken at Bruce Bowen’s ESPN bow tie, or calling Tim Duncan the Darth Vader to the Spurs’ “Evil Empire,” (though kudos for the “calling Duncan a center” burn, he hates that, it makes him grumpier than he already is).

Really, the tragedy is Phoenix cheapening their hatred of the Spurs by bookending all those wonderfully-spiteful Spurs memories with two Lakers photographs.

Granted, technically Sasha Vujacic is not on the list (nor is he even a Laker anymore), but he did make the front page. And really, who pegs Sasha Vujacic as a villain? Sure, no one really likes him, but the guy is basically harmless (even more so now that he’s in New Jersey).

But Kobe Bryant?! While Bryant did have that little back-and-forth with Raja Bell a few years back — and as a good rule of thumb Bryant is generally despised by all fan bases that do not type with their caps lock on (or use “z” to pluralize everything, or use the word “haterz”) — is Kobe really public enemy No. 1 in Phoenix?

As much as I’d like to post video of Robert Horry and Bruce Bowen’s greatest hits to refresh some memories, I’ll settle for being content with the knowledge of the San Antonio Spurs likely adding two more players to that list (Gary Neal will probably hit a few clutch three-pointers and Tiago Splitter likes to fall a lot too).

Because ultimately any villains list in Phoenix that features an opposing player at the top slot is completely wrong. If you must boo anyone Phoenix, turn it inward and go nuts on the man that deserves it: Robert Sarver.

Blessed with one of the best offensive point guards of all-time, Sarver wasted the Steve Nash-era by selling off draft picks and any kind of depth the team could have hoped to contend with (selling picks that could have been any of the following: Luol Deng, Marcin Gortat, Rajon Rondo, Nate Robinson, Rudy Fernandez).

So hopefully Sarver sells the team before the next list comes out (and before Nash and Grant Hill retire), making him eligible to be in his rightful place.

And just for fun–Steve Nash flopped (or rather, sold the hit, when Robert Horry hit him, and here’s the proof:

  • AP

    Man, I love the blog, but I gotta say, Darth Timmy might be the nerdiest thing I’ve ever seen on multiple levels of nerdness. Yet, its just so awesome.

  • DieHardSpur

    A blind guy could tell that Nash flopped.

    Chasing after Big Shot Rob wasnt the best idea the little Canadian had in his life…

    Flopping so hard you break your nose on the scorers table – Priceless!

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  • Mr. International

    Great article/blog/post whatever you call these things these days. Shoot, I remember Charles Barkley clowning Steve Nash’s bad acting job on that flop…like he got shot in a spaghetti western.

    Good to know the Suns still hate the Spurs even after the sweep. Funny to know how much it burns them when they lose.

    That said, can’t wait for Hill to come back. Gary Neal stepped up real nice, but he can’t D guys up as well as Hill.

  • SpurredOn

    Is there even realistic debate that Nash didn’t flop? Had he been truly injured, as the sniper fire fall certainly made everyone believe, he never could’ve jumped up and run at Horry. His drama caused his brainless teammate to run off the bench and get suspended. Always thought that was perfect.

    Speaking of that series, is there a link to Bruce’s winning 3-pt shot in game 5? That ranks right up there with game winners against the Suns though it gets forgotten.

  • td4life

    It’s true.

    I make it a point to watch or listen to the opposing team’s game coverage all around the country, whenever they are playing the Spurs, including last night’s game… and no team, NO TEAM, complains about officiating that favors the Spurs more than the Suns faithful do. It’s sad really, and even their color guy on the radio is regularly embarrassed into silence by the play-by-play guy’s constant martyrdom over every call, and just bites his tongue for minutes at a time while his broadcasting partner whines and whines. They think Pop and the Spurs are primadonnas who argue everything and SA fans are ignorant and spoiled… grow up already SUNS nation.

    So it’s no wonder PHX fans lack objectivity about Manu and Horry, they are constantly being sold on how unfair the league is to them… and what a bunch of con-artists the Spurs have been, cause they never deserved to win a thing if it wasn’t for NBA’s favoritism of that big-time moneymaking machine known as the annual Spurs’ playoff run.

  • Nick

    He probably did flop, but it was well done. I hate the Suns (although it’s not quite the same) but I’m a huge Nash fan. There’s not many higher class players than Nash, especially outside the Spurs locker room.

    Selling it is part of the game. Manu does it all the time, and it’s great.

  • duaneofly

    Suns’ fans are quite whiny. It’s funny how they say their players being suspended cost them a title, nevermind the fact they’d still have to finish off the Spurs, beat the Jazz who smoked them in the regular season, then play the Cavs. Even if the Suns somehow beat the Jazz, I think LeBron would have had a field day against the Suns “defense”.

  • Bushka

    Everytime that incident is mentioned by sons fans (the horry hip check), they say one of two things.

    1. It cost the Suns the title

    2. It probably cost the suns a title…

    Was this the finals or the 2nd round of the playoffs?

  • Bushka

    Also they never talk about being down 2-1 when it happened nor that they lost the last game handily with a full team on the floor…just sooks.

  • Bry

    Yeah, they lost in 6-games, not 7. Even in that game they were down 10 in the fourth quarter and had to come back. You didn’t get “robbed” if a team beats you four times in a week and a half. I do like Nash, and it’s not his fault two Suns players were too stupid to stay on the bench (like all the Spurs players) and avoid getting suspended for a playoff game. I mean, it’s not like that was a new or obscure rule or something.

  • Ian

    Every sensible Suns fan DOES rank Sarver as the Suns’ worst villain. I guess the prospect of Suns’ owner being the team’s own downfall is a hard thing to swallow for the Phoenix fans… Sad stuff really.

  • DorieStreet

    Don’t forget the 2004-05 season. The Suns started out at a blistering pace (similar to what the Spurs are doing now) and went on to have the best record in the league. San Antonio went at them in the Western Conference Finals. I believe Phoenix was favored but then Suns guard Joe Johnson broke his eye socket (who ran into him- Bowen? Horry?) I think he was having a Goren Dragic type series against us-correct me if I’m wrong) but when he went out the Suns went down in 5 games- and the Spurs went on to get Title #3

  • Webster

    If anyone needs additional proof that the Suns do truly hate us, during the Suns SW tellecast, they did a poll of which Spurs player Suns hate the most. FYI, Horry was #1, the Sickness #2.

  • pollackj

    It was Jerry Stackhouse.

    Don’t be such a drama queen.

  • ChillFAN

    Doriestreet, Joe Johson actually broke his face in the Mavs series before facing the Spurs, and the mask ultimately limited his play.

    The Suns list was weird, since Amare bolting affected the team far more than McDyess or Johnson. Kobe Bryant is deservedly the Suns #1 villain because of how he bullied Raja Bell and the fact that he torched them last year.

    Suns fans know real heartache, you have to admit. And for a time, their fast break style was FUN for the game. The league loved their run and gun style for years, So to claim there was a conspiracy by Stern and the league–give me a break.

    A few tense moments broke out last year between the Suns and Blazers, but I forget who was involved.

  • SpurredOn

    @DorieStreet – as mentioned by ChillFAN, JJ was injured in the Dallas series but only missed the first two games of the WCF against the Spurs. PHX was 0-2 without him, 1-2 with him. Interesting that no one ever notes how Duncan was playing with a bad ankle that he sprained in the prior series. That PHX went 0-3 at home while playing at their preferred pace speaks to the Spurs’ ability to adapt and dominance over them.

    As for 2007, PHX was 2-3 with their full roster. Spurs went 2-0 without their second guy off the bench, Horry. One team makes excuses, one wins.

  • mac

    If the 2007 series went 7 games, they might have a leg to stand on. It wasn’t, and they don’t. It’s funny that they were simply “robbed” of their trophy by a cheap SA team. Phil Jackson tried to discredit the Spurs’ first trophy, and the Spurs went out and did it again and again, and again. The Suns have always fallen short, so maybe the responsibility for that is their own? Just a guess. Falling to the Mavs in ’06 hurt in San Antonio, but plain and simply, the Spurs did not get themselves the win. The Lakers with Malone and Payton fell short, too, and that disappointment was theirs to live with.

    Making excuses is a loser move. It lacks the accountability you need to develop a championship culture. D’Antoni deserves some of the credit for that pathetic culture in Phoenix, which apparently lingers on. Unless he has grown up, I doubt the Knicks will get the job done in this new era of theirs, with or without Carmelo.