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Fraternal Franchises: Utah Jazz and the Phoenix Suns

Hopefully not kissing cousins, though . . .

BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge 2016 Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Utah Jazz and the Phoenix Suns have a lot of ties. Not just that they were linked somewhat for going all-in in the 1990s and falling short in the NBA Finals because they were defeated by a bald shoe salesmen. And it’s more than just the current relationships that exist between the coaching staffs. (Staves?) Yes, Earl Watson is the head coach of the Phoenix Suns and used to play for the Utah Jazz. Yes, Tyrone Corbin played for both teams, was a long-time assistant with Utah, and briefly the head coach, and is now an assistant in Phoenix. Yes, current Jazz assistant Antonio Lang used to play for the Suns as well.

But the sheer list of players who have played for both teams is pretty remarkable: Lou Amundson, Raja Bell, Dee Brown, Mike Brown, Marty Byrnes, Tom Chambers, Dionte Chirstmas (summer league only for the Jazz), Jarron Collins, Jeff Cook, Tyrone Corbin, Bryce Cotton, Mel Counts, Boris Diaw, Howard Eisley, Diante Garrett, Kenny Gattison (traded for but didn’t play in Utah), Armen Gilliam, Gordan Giricek, Gail Goodrich, Lamar Green, Tom Gugliotta, Jeff Hornacek, Jay Humphries, Kris Humphries, Joe Johnson, Rich Kelley, Brevin Knight, Ron Lee, Tim Legler, Randy Livingston, Danny Manning, Jerel McNeal, Otto Moore, Chris Morris, Milt Palacio, Phil Pressey (Idaho Stampede), Ronnie Price, Truck Robinson, Fred Saunders (Ast. Coach in Utah), Danny Schayes, Ira Terrell, Brooks Thompson, and Neal Walk.

You could make a pretty good team out of some of those guys. You could probably make two or three bad teams too. (It’s a free country.)

Some of the more iconic players from good years for both teams were passed around, guys like Horny, Chambers, and Manning are at the front of that list. But there are even more connections between these two squads. Perhaps a newer version of a basketball fraternity comes from these super NCAA programs? We don’t need to look far for evidence of this either.

The University of Kentucky is well represented in this game with Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight, Archie Goodwin, Tyler Ulis, Trey Lyles, and Devin Booker all spending a few moments with that program.

This connection is more than just shared futility, or between players and/or coaches. I guess geographically these two teams will be linked as well. Or being smaller market teams that found ways to compete even when the ownership couldn’t spend as much as the other teams out there could? That’s also gotta count.

Heck, for many years both teams ran up and down the court wearing purple uniforms.

Anyway, I can’t hate on the Suns that much. After all, they are basically us. And vice versa.