An era has ended in the Valley of the Sun.
When the clock unexpectedly struck midnight on the Phoenix Suns’ 2022 season, the franchise unceremoniously donned the City Edition “The Valley” uniforms for the final time. It was an unfortunate end to a set of threads that will always be connected with a highly successful one period of Suns’ basketball. Like the Sunburst uniforms of the mid-90s and the orange crush uniforms of the Seven Seconds or Less era, The Valley uniforms will forever be connected with the Chris Paul era and a run to the 2021 NBA Finals.
In a sick twist of fate, the last time the Phoenix Suns wore them was in one of the most historically bad Game 7 performances in the history of the league.
If you are one of the fans who got their hands on a Valley jersey, cherish it. There will be a day when we are pining for it to come back as a throwback. It was a highly sought after jersey, as it felt like every store was always out of them all the time.
The Suns famously debuted their new jerseys in a hype video that included former member of the Suns – and author of the Valley Boyz moniker –Kelly Oubre with rhinestones and a white horse.
Days after the video was released he was shipped to Oklahoma City for Chris Paul. Ouch.
The team debuted the Valley look on December 29, 2020 in a 22-point drubbing of the New Orleans Pelicans. For the next two seasons the team would wear their City Edition set a total of 69 times. They would post a 49-20 record in them, playoffs included.
During the 75th Anniversary season of the NBA, almost every team had a Classic Edition uniform set to celebrate their franchise’s history. Only the Phoenix Suns and the Utah Jazz chose to stick with their City Edition uniforms as an option for the season. They were that hot.
The team went 5-2 wearing them this postseason, but unfortunately the last time they wore them, the team lost by 33 points in Game 7 at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks.
Like the pixelated sunset that has become a trademark look for the Suns, the uniform set has faded into the night.
Game 7 wasn’t just the death of the Valley City Edition uniforms, it saw the end of the orange Statement Edition uniforms (thankfully), as well as the Icon Edition and Association Edition sets. The Phoenix Suns are going to be changing up their entire portfolio of uniforms.
Much akin to the change that occurred in 2013, the Suns are bringing back a newer version of the Sunburst jerseys that were so popular in the 1990s. Like those uniform sets, we will no longer see “Phoenix” across the chest of the Suns players. The team is sticking with the word “Suns”, with a backdrop of a Sunburst, and a new number font.
Per @SunsUniTracker on Twitter:
The reviews are mixed on this new look. Compared to what the Suns currently have, I believe this is an upgrade. I’m not sure if I like the numbers — and change is always met with friction — but overall I’m for this change.
The City Edition is where things get a little wonky. Phoenix apparently is going for a turquoise look, most likely as a nod to the local Native American culture, but it has a very similar appearance to some of the Miami Heat vice city concepts. If you thought the Suns’ logo on the chest look was gone with the Orange Friday uniforms, you’d be wrong!
@SunsUniTracker made a mockup of a leak to provide us a potential peek of what is replacing the Valley jerseys.
I’ll let you be the judge. It just doesn’t say “Suns” to me in any way, shape, or form.
The Statement Edition threads are a mash-up between prior Statement Edition edition concepts, with PHX returning across the chest, and the sunset gradient visible on the numbers. We’ll see how it looks in person, but of all of the uniform sets that will be unveiled next season, this is my second favorite.
My favorite? It is reported that the Phoenix Suns, following the 30th anniversary of the 1992-93 NBA season, will have a Classic Edition that features the original Sunbursts jerseys. To see our team wearing those jerseys again? Art.
So as we say goodbye to not only the Valley uniforms, but the Icon, Association, and orange Statement sets as well, it is perhaps fitting that this is occurring right when the Suns need it most.
The soul crushing loss in Game 7 of the 2022 Western Conference Semifinals will leave a scar. Anything that reminds us of that day will instantly take us back to the frustration, despair, and unlikely demise of the Fellas.
New uniform sets will mirror a baptism and bring fresh life for the Phoenix Suns. In theory. I’m sure some way the organization will figure out a new way to break our heart, just in a different packaging of clothing.