The scars are still fresh from the Phoenix Suns’ NBA Finals loss to the Milwaukee Bucks Tuesday. Phoenix’s third career trip to the Finals resulting in defeat after going six games with Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks.
Throughout out it all, the Red Sea remained on their feet, cheering on their neighbors with unwavering support.
Everyone from J.J. Watt to Budda Baker to Suns minority owner Larry Fitzgerald watching with cautious optimism. All in the hopes that the Suns would be able to do what the Cardinals infamously couldn’t and bring a championship home.
A point of interest not lost on Cardinals fans is that Fitzgerald would have received a ring had the Suns extended and won the Finals. No speech is required on how much Fitzgerald deserves his due among residents of The Valley.
Alas, it was not meant to be, but that didn’t stop the Bird Gang from cheering on Phoenix all throughout the Finals.
An absolutely incredible run.
We know it didn’t end the way you hoped, but thank you for taking the Valley on such an amazing ride.
You’ve made the entire state of Arizona very proud, @Suns.
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) July 21, 2021
J.J. Watt And Budda Baker
Watt was watching every game, further making him a popular Cardinals player even without having played a snap for Arizona. He was also likely the most conflicted between everyone in the desert. When one grows up a Wisconsin native, loyalty to the state’s teams is out of the question.
Not that this made things any easier for Watt, who heaped praise on both the Suns and the Bucks. But the more he watched, the more he became awestruck by Milwaukee burning hunger to win it all.
And as the final buzzer sounded, the former Badger gave credit to the new hero of Wisconsin.
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) July 21, 2021
As for Baker, he was locked in as much as anyone else during the series. He may not have tweeted profusely but his emotion was evident in the tweets he did send out. He was also a little blunter in his criticism during the series. Case in point, his thoughts on Suns center Deandre Ayton after he began getting into foul trouble again during Game 6.
Ayton Playin scared… and buddy said that was all ball on DBook strip. You can clearly see he got DBooks hand 😂😂
— Budda Baker (@buddabaker32) July 21, 2021
Ultimately, Baker gave his kudos to Milwaukee shortly afterward. Calling Giannis Antetokounmpo, “one of the only players I’ve ever seen give it his all on both ends of the floor each and every game.”
While Larry Fitzgerald didn’t quite tweet during the Finals, make no mistake that he was supporting Phoenix all postseason long. And when he wasn’t watching, he was golfing; not that hitting the links stopped him from giving praise to Suns point guard Chris Paul and how his leadership has turned around the organization.
“What Chris has done is unbelievable,” Fitzgerald acknowledged in a June 10 interview on ESPN’s “The Jump. “You see what he’s done for Devin [Booker], you see what he’s done for Mikal [Bridges], you see what he’s done for Deandre, Jae [Crowder] and everybody else.”
Even as a championship ring still eludes Larry Legend, Fitzgerald knows better than anyone else to persevere. Whether that will result in him coming back for another season remains to be seen.
Watching the Phoenix Suns turn themselves around into a championship-caliber team is no doubt going to be fuel for the Bird Gang. In a competitive NFC West division where the offenses have loaded up on weapons, the Cardinals will enter quite the hostile environment.
A run to the Super Bowl seems unlikely, but then again, the Suns in the Finals was not universally anticipated either. Rest assured, The Valley will be back to rallying once the Cardinals kick off 2021.
Featured Image courtesy of Christian Petersen/Getty Images
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