The Phoenix Suns’ return to the NBA Finals put Arizona back on the map for a while, with the NBA team getting within touching distance of its first championship. The state isn’t known for dominant sports teams at the moment but it has quite a few and we shall take a look at the best ones right below.
The Suns have to be No.1 on here given their recent feat in the NBA playoffs. Led by head coach Monty Williams, veteran point guard Chris Paul and one of the most exciting scorers in Devin Booker, the Suns made an unlikely run to the finals this month, taking a 2-0 lead against the Milwaukee Bucks in the early going.
They were unfortunate to lose their next four games, three of which were lost by slim margins and will hope to return and go all the way in short order.
The Suns won 51 regular-season games last season to finish second in the West and book a trip to the playoffs for the first time since 2010. They went on to reach the finals for the first time since 1993.
The Mercury is Phoenix’s WNBA team and is owned by Robert Sarver, who also owns the Suns. They’re significantly more successful than their NBA counterparts, having won three WNBA titles and four conference championships.
The team was founded before the WNBA’s first season in 1997 and is one of the league’s eight original organizations. They’ve qualified for the playoffs in 15 of their 24 years and some of the most famous female ballers have passed through their ranks, including Diana Taurasi, Cappie Pondexter, Candice Dupree, and Brittney Griner.
The Arizona Cardinals represent the state in the NFL but the team was actually founded in Chicago as an amateur side in 1988 before moving to the NFL as a charter member in 1920. The Cardinals are one of just two charter member franchises still in operation since the league was founded.
Based in the Phoenix metropolitan are, the outfit plays in the NFC West. Originally named the Morgan Athletic club, they have two championships, which they won prior to the NFL-AFL merger, as well as seven division titles.
Their prospects are looking pretty good this year and there’s also the fact that they have Kyler Murray in their ranks. However, it’s been reported that Chandler Jones wants out.
“All-Pro pass-rusher Chandler Jones requested a trade from the Arizona Cardinals this offseason, sources told ESPN,” the report reads. “Jones has been unhappy with his contract and missed offseason work as a result.
“The Cardinals don’t want to trade Jones and expect him to report to training camp, which begins Tuesday. Jones, 31, plans to have a big year coming off surgery on his right biceps, and the Cardinals believe he’s excited to play alongside new acquisition J.J. Watt despite past unhappiness.”
It’s understood that the team does not want to trade Jones.
The Diamondbacks, also referred to as the D-Backs, are Arizona’s Major League Baseball team. They play in the National League West, having gotten formed as an expansion side in 1998, and see out their home games at Chase Field. They won the World Series in 2001, beating the New York Yankees to become the fastest expansion team to win a championship in MLB history. They’re hardly as formidable nowadays and, at Fox Bet a well-reviewed Arizona sportsbook, they are dead last to win the World Series this season.
The D-Backs are languishing at the bottom of the NL West at the moment with a dismal 31-70 record.
USA Tokyo 2021 Team
Yes, I know this is not an Arizona exclusive team, but several members of the team are from AZ and are doing very well indeed. Arizona’s Jagger Eaton takes bronze in first ever Olympic skateboarding competition and there are plenty of other big names out there to follow like Devon Allen (Track & Field), Jade Carey (Gymnastics), Corben Sharrah (BMX Racing) and many others. You can see a full list of Arizonans in Tokyo right here – https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2021/07/23/arizonans-in-tokyo-athletes-with-local-ties-to-watch-in-the-tokyo-olympics/
While it does have to be said that they are not doing so well now they have shown real commitment to the future by spending some serious money on new up and coming players. They are getting their passion back and looking to become the first Arizona team to win at the National Presidents Cup since SC del Sol 98 Girls way back in 2013! This is one team well worth keeping an eye on.
The Coyotes are a Phoenix-based pro hockey team competing in the NHL’s Central Division in the Western Conference. They were first housed at the America West Arena in downtown Phoenix but have since moved to Glendale’s Gila River Arena, having done so in 2003.
They will play in the Central Division starting in 2021/22 for the first time since 1998 as the Seattle Kraken are set to join the NHL. The Yotes, as they are known, are yet to win the Stanley Cup but fans will hope they will accomplish the feat soon enough.
Salt River Rafters
The Salt River Rafters are a baseball team that plays in the East Division of the Arizona Fall League. Sure, they haven’t had any Major league affiliations since 2019, but this team is hungry and with several players being from the Arizona Diamondbacks you could easily see why this team is one to follow.
This soccer club plays in the USLC and was founded as the Arizona United Soccer Club. The club perhaps had its most high-profile moment after signing soccer legend Didier Drogba in 2017. The Ivorian forward, now retired, played out most of his career in Europe with Premier League side Chelsea FC. Drogba has since taken up an ownership stake in the club.
The Arizona Rattlers are a pro indoor football team in Phoenix and play in the Indoor Football League (IFL). Founded as an expansion team in the Arena Football League in 1992, they were the third-oldest active organization in the AFL until leaving in 2016.
Do you think there are any other Arizona teams that should have made this list? If you do why not leave a comment below.