Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images
A bittersweet time in Phoenix leaves a hole in many Suns fans hearts.
Kelly Oubre Jr. and Ricky Rubio will be leaving the Valley after the trade between the Phoenix Suns and the Oklahoma City Thunder was confirmed Monday morning. Taking a step back from the excitement of adding Chris Paul I would like to show my appreciation for both Kelly and Ricky.
When it really hit me that the Suns will be losing two men that helped turn around the franchise, I tried to remember that this is a business and it will be for the better. Both Ricky and Kelly brought the taste of attention back to Phoenix and made basketball fun again for Suns fans.
When Ricky was signed to the Suns I was ecstatic and I thought they landed the point guard of the future. Signing a 3-year $51M contract during the summer of 2019, I applauded the Suns and agreed that was the contract he deserved. Plus the first message we got from the man himself will never be forgotten, Sans fan!
A message from the floor general.
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) July 9, 2019
This was a franchise that was set to climb the Western Conference ladder and develop the great young talented core they possessed. Ricky was a leader, a court general, and a distributor that the Suns haven’t had since Goran Dragic. To think that the Suns finally had a point guard, tied for 3rd in the league in assists with 8.8 per game while showing great character and positivity on and off the court.
During the season, like most Suns teams do, the team started a losing streak and had a tough time getting out of the funk. Deandre Ayton was returning from suspension and nothing was clicking on the court. Ricky always managed to give us hope.
… never too high, never too low. We will figure it out. Everything will be ok. #RisePHX
— Ricky Rubio (@rickyrubio9) December 18, 2019
Not only did he bring life to Phoenix basketball, at 29, he also became a father. The reason I give the nickname “Papa” Ricky, is for the birth of his child at the beginning of the year. Having the life of no sleep and back-to-back games I could only imagine would put strain on Ricky to keep things together and still produce. And he did.
Ricky was a fan favorite and if he were here one or two more years it has me wondering what the Suns would look like and if they were actually consistent with keeping a team together, Ricky and Devin Booker would continue to be a secretly stellar back court. But this is the NBA and Ricky will always be remembered and still cheered for throughout his career, wherever he plays his beautiful brand of basketball at.
The ballz on this guy! Kelly Oubre Jr. has more highlights as a Sun than most players in the NBA wish they had in their careers. He became a monster with the left hand and a go-to guy in the clutch. From the Valley Boy pop-up shop to his live Twitch account, Kelly kept it real with the fans of Phoenix and only wanted to be in Phoenix.
Another heartbreak that I am not used to feeling when a player is traded away from Phoenix. A very passionate player that shared most of that wealth with Suns fans.
The head-shakes and the pushups got the crowd in Phoenix to put down the phones and get involved to what was happening in front of them.
Kelly found himself with the Suns and so did the Suns. The confidence to take the last shot or dunk on another grown man was never a second thought. What ever he had to do to help his team, Kelly made sure to give it his all and even more.
But the poor guy went dark on Twitter during the trade deadline of the 2019-2020 season. It seemed that it was never enough to please everyone. Luckily the Suns were able to keep Kelly, and even when he was injured missing the action in the bubble, he made sure to cheer on his teammates to an 8-0 finish. Never a negative word and only positive peeps.
The highlights, like I said earlier, were never ending and astonishing to watch. I can’t remember more times that I had almost blew out both knees trying to jump off my couch watching him make a play.
When both Ricky and Oubre are the opponents next season, these memories will bring some joy into the competition. A standing ovation for both players who found balance between the love of Suns fans and their dedication to winning here in Phoenix.
If this were a handwritten letter, there would be smudges of ink from tears and maybe a little lipstick kiss at the end sealing the XOXO.