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Special Suns fan has memorable day at Game 7

A man who has nerve damage and is in a wheelchair got to see the Phoenix Suns in person for the first time.
Published: May. 16, 2022 at 4:26 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — The Phoenix Suns’ disappointing Game 7 loss didn’t stop it from being an unforgettable night for one Valley man. Michael Stoudemire is 52 years old and has some nerve damage from a previous tumor on his neck. That’s made it difficult for him to move around, so he had never been able to make it out to an NBA game. That changed Sunday night, thanks to the local nonprofit Arizona Health Care Foundation. “This is like a dream come true opportunity,” Stoudemire said.

Life hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Stoudemire. There have been broken necks, dislocated shoulders, and times when most would struggle to stay upbeat. But not him. “I don’t try to focus on the negative,” he said. “I try to focus on the positive no matter what.”

But even Stoudemire had a hard time believing that he was really watching a Suns’ playoff game in person. “I’m like excited beyond belief,” he said.

Getting Stoudemire to the Footprint Center started when the Peoria Post Acute and Rehabilitation Center where Stoudemire lives submitted him for the Arizona Health Care Foundation’s Live-A-Dream award. “He has never been to a Suns game, and he’s a big Suns fan,” Peoria Post Acute and Rehabilitation Center administrator Mark Glazier said. “He really wants to go to a playoff game.”

Stoudemire and those at the center found out he won the award right before Game 5. “I was coming, going to a game!” Stoudemire said. “And Game 7 too?! That’s just amazing.”

Even as Game 7 slipped away, Stoudemire’s smile remained. “The building is awesome. I’ve never been in an arena like this before,” he said. “It’s pretty cool.”

Each moment in the arena was a chance for a new memory to last a lifetime. “I want to take pictures in my head, and I want to take pictures on my phone too,” he said. “Yeah, I’m just trying to relish the moment.” And even as the sun sets on this Phoenix Suns basketball season, Stoudemire’s already looking ahead to next season. “All day, go Suns!” he yelled. “No. 1!”