Dan Majerle, PJ Tucker and Mikal Bridges: Messrs. Hustle of House Suns
For the second year in a row, and the third time in four years since being drafted, Mikal Bridges was awarded the Dan Majerle Hustle Award by Phoenix Suns fans via online voting at suns.com.
Mikal is all about this constant hustle and bustle, but he’s so much more than a “tough” guy. He’s a finalist for the 2021-22 NBA Defensive Player of the Year award, a lock to make an All-Defense team one of the league’s top 10 defensemen, and still carries an offensive load (a career-high 14.3 points per game on 53% shooting) while playing the most minutes in the entire league this year.
He’s almost certainly the best ‘4th best’ player on any team in the league, a big reason the Phoenix Suns are 64-17 so far this season and will finish with at least seven wins more than the next best team in the league.
Bridges knows what he’s got in this young star and signed him to a whopping four-year extension last offseason that will net him $90 million over the next four years.
The Hustle Award was designed by the organization to exemplify what a great teammate looks like – one who hustle every play of every game, and in a more memorable way than anyone else. Dan Majerle spent most of his career (1988-1995) with the Suns on one of the greatest Suns teams of all time, making three All-Star teams along the way, but his greatest mark came as a difference factor on effort whether he filled the box score or not.
The Majerle Hustle Award was established the year after Thunder Dan retired. Past winners include:
- 2003: Outlaw Bo
- 2004: Casey Jacobson
- 2005: Shawn Marion
- 2006: Raja Bell
- 2007: Leandro Barbosa
- 2008: Grant Hill
- 2009: Louis Amundson
- 2010: Jared Dudley
- 2011: Grant Hill
- 2012: Sebastien Telfair
- 2013: PJ Tucker
- 2014: PJ Tucker
- 2015: PJ Tucker
- 2016: PJ Tucker
- 2017: Alan Williams
- 2018: Josh Jackson
- 2019: Mikal Bridges
- 2020: Jevon Carter
- 2021: Mikal Bridges
Grant Hill, PJ Tucker and Mikal Bridges are the only multiple recipients of the award.
Bridges and his compatriots set the bar high every year and it’s nice to see the team rewarding that effort with something to remember.
Dan Majerle’s parting thoughts when announcing Bridges as the winner of the Hustle Award was a loud cry to bring a championship back to Phoenix.
The Suns won the Western Conference and made the Finals last year — like the Majerle Suns did in 1993 — and are the league’s top seed in the playoffs this season.
They will begin their quest for the 2022 playoffs next Sunday, April 17.