If you’ve watched Phoenix Suns games this year, you’ve probably noticed a few things.
- Chris Paul is still playing
- Devin Booker is a bucket
- Their shirts say “The Valley” on them
You may have a question about this one. The Suns don’t usually depict “The Valley” on their jerseys, but have notably played games over the past two seasons. So why is this the case, and what does it even mean?
Here’s everything you need to know about Suns’ Valley jerseys.
The shirts are part of the Nike City Edition concept
Nike officially partnered with the NBA in 2017, and the company has released annual City Edition jerseys every year since.
According to a 2020 press release, “the goal was to breathe new life into uniform designs to more closely connect a franchise to its city.” Nike basically tries to appeal to each team’s fan base through its designs.
For example, the Brooklyn Nets’ 2021-22 city uniforms pay homage to their 2002 and 2003 Eastern Conference championship teams. The Cleveland Cavaliers brought back a design they used in the ’70s and also honor their 2016 championship. And the representative of the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, their home for nearly half a century.
The Suns, on the other hand, have had “The Valley” at the center of their jerseys for the past two seasons.
Why do the Suns have “The Valley” on their jerseys?
According to NBA.com, the Phoenix metropolitan area earned the nickname “the Valley of the Sun” in the 1930s. Cities in the Salt River Valley began to experience economic expansion and population growth during this period. Thus, “The Valley” has since become part of the culture within this community.
Wearing the moniker on their jerseys is essentially a way for the Suns to not only represent Phoenix but everyone in the area.
“The supporters and the fans that we have are from all over the valley so it’s cool to represent them because they represent us so we just try to go out there and represent everybody,” said Mikal Bridges to Forbes when Nike first released the Suns “Valley” jerseys for the 2020-21 season. “The jersey is really for them. It’s good for us to have and it looks good, but it’s really for them.
The jerseys also honor Camelback Mountain and use a particular color scheme to represent the Arizona sunrise and sunset.
So when you see Devin Booker and Chris Paul dominating their competition from now on, they’re not just doing it for Phoenix. They play for everyone in the valley.
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