PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns' new jersey design pays homage to the cultures, traditions and native languages of each of the 22 tribal nations that reside in Arizona.
The team, who unveiled the jerseys on Thursday, worked on the design for over two years and made sure to include input from all of the tribes in the state.
"The Suns worked directly with the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona, comprised of leaders from 21 of the 22 Tribal Nations of Arizona, and the Navajo Nation to ensure the leaders of each sovereign nation were included in the development process," the team said. "The Suns also collaborated with local groups including the Heard Museum, Phoenix Indian Center and Cahokia SocialTech and ArtSpace, an indigenous-led platform for creative placekeeping in downtown Phoenix, for educational and creative support."
The uniform includes multiple design choices that honor the state's Native American roots, including:
- The turquoise color, a color of strength that represents the living or protection stone stemming from the living Earth
- A new logo inspired by the Native American medicine wheel on the waistband of the shorts
- Black tape on the sides of the uniform features the word "sun" in each of the tribes' native languages
Shawn Martinez, the team's senior director of live presentation, also played a role in bringing the uniform to life. Martinez is Diné, a member of the Navajo Nation, and mentioned how basketball played an integral role in his life and community.
“Back home rez ball is central to our way of life and brings our diverse communities and cultures together on and off the court,” Martinez said.
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