Phoenix Suns special edition jerseys pay homage to 22 tribal nations within Arizona
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- On the Navajo Nation, basketball is an integral part of the community and many members cheer on the Phoenix Suns. Now the team is paying tribute to the Navajo Nation and the 21 other federally-recognized tribal nations in the state through the new 2022-23 Nike NBA City Edition uniform.
The uniform’s design has been two and a half years in the making. A new logo encompasses the Native American medicine wheels, which feature 22 feathers and 22 arrowheads.
“I love them, man, because the way they say ‘sun’ in our language,” said Suns fan Robert Key III. “They represent our colors and it’s real sacred to us, and for them to bring it out it shows real honor and real respect. We’ve been here for years—centuries—and finally we get noticed, you know.”
Senior Director of Live Presentation Shawn Martinez is Diné himself. “Back home rez ball is central to our way of life and brings our diverse communities and cultures together on and off the court,” said Martinez.
The jersey’s color is eye-popping, too. And there’s a reason behind it; the turquoise color represents the “living or protection stone.” It symbolizes the belief that all things are precious and the earth itself is a living creature.
Meanwhile, there’s “black tape running down the jersey top and shorts features the word for ‘sun’ in each of the tribes’ unique native languages ... It is perhaps the uniform’s most important feature,” the Phoenix Suns explained in a news release.
Martinez says it is important to showcase the resilience and perseverance of the cultures.
“Many of these languages were never written and have been passed down from generation to generation for centuries. We are honored to be able to showcase the diversity of culture and pride of these remarkable sovereign nations,” he said.
Teammates will wear the uniform 10 times during “ORIGINATIV,” which is a celebration series honoring Arizona’s 2022 tribal nations. To learn more, click/tap here.
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