Mesa grandma, 25-year-old accountant share love of Phoenix Suns

One year later, JoAnne Ralph and Ben Barchilon's unique friendship and passion for the Suns have grown stronger.
Published: Apr. 26, 2022 at 3:59 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - JoAnne Ralph and Ben Barchilon have a special bond, and it all started with their love of the Phoenix Suns. “It’s just wonderful to have another grandson,” said Ralph. “It upsets my granddaughter because she says ‘I’m not sharing you!’ And I said, yes you are.”

“I don’t have any grandmas, so this is truly my grandma,” said Barchilon. Last July, Arizona’s Family introduced you to the 81-year-old Mesa grandma who’s been a Phoenix Suns fan since 1984.

The 25-year-old tax accountant saw the story on the news and decided he wanted to take Ralph, a woman he’d never met, to Game 2 of the NBA Finals. Barchilon bought Ralph a ticket and they went to the game in style--in a stretch limousine. One year later, their unique friendship and passion for the Suns have grown stronger.

Ralph and Barchilon call and text each other all the time and like to get together to watch Suns games on TV. When asked who the rowdiest fan is, Barchilon said, “It’s probably me. I’m pretty up and out of my seat when I’m watching games. We’re both very vocal.”

“We’ll cheer, and then we’ll criticize, that’s what fans do,” Ralph said. “When they make a 3-pointer, I say, ‘Shazam’ and he goes ‘clap clap’. I’m old school.”

Ralph said she just adopted a new dog and named him Booker after Suns star Devin Booker. “Every time I say his name, I think of the Suns, and I think of Booker,” said Ralph. Just good all the way around.”

What do Ralph and Barchilon think about the tough playoff series with the Pelicans? “I know they can put best foot forward and arms in the air,” said Ralph. “They’re going to do it. They’re going to do it.”