Here Come The Suns

imageThe sun is setting early this year for the Phoenix Suns. The final home game of the season – no playoffs and a long, hot summer.  The Gregger would have been disappointed, as am I, but faithful fans we’ll always be. Our loyalty began way back in the early ’80’s at Veteran’s Colliseum when we could hang our legs over the empty seats, relax and enjoy the likes of Dennis Johnson, Alvan Adams, and Walter Davis. Gregger had a close affiliation with the team, dressing the announcers, and  later the coaches, so our boys had the opportunity to grow up sitting on the bench next to such players as Curt Rambis and Steve Kerr. Our Suns loyalty never wavered. We loved them win or lose. There were so many memorable moments…

  •  1976…Calling each other after the tough game 6 loss to the Celtics (I was in St. Louis visiting my parents and he was back in Council Bluffs)
  • Christmas day games when we dressed in our Suns garb as a family, dorky as ever but the greatest fans
  • 1992-1996…The Barkley years when we barely missed a game, so excited to cheer the team onto victory
  • 1993…The NBA Finals. Trailing 98-96 with 3.9 seconds left, John Paxson buried a heartbreaking 3-pointer to give the Bulls a one-point lead – game over! This capped off a jam-packed Father’s Day, full of glory and grace. We raced from Ryan winning his tennis tournament to the Suns and left at 55 seconds to watch Ashley dance in her recital. So we missed the shot. We thought we had won.  In our book, they were still winners.
  • 2008…attending the inauguration of former Phoenix Suns, Kevin Johnson when he was elected as Mayor of Sacramento (Gregger had a longstanding relationship with Kevin and this was truly such an honor for both of us)image
  • 2011…an incredible “cross it off the bucket list” road trip with the Suns to Houston and New Orleans for three glorious days.  suns road tripWOW! Jet setting, schmoozing, sitting courtside, wining and dining…it was purely the ultimate dream come true. Unforgettable, priceless, and perfect!
  • Years and years of cheers and tears, amazing partnership, and comraderie.

We tapered off going to the games these last few years. Gregger was busy, I had back problems, and it just seemed easier to watch the games together at home. But our loyalty never wavered. It always humored me when Gregger started yelling at the refs…”Traveling! Traveling! Are you kidding me?” He would say the same thing over and over again as if it would change the call. We would high-five each other, knuckle bump, and do all kinds of crazy things when the game got close, but it was a diversion from the stress of the day and brought us joy. It was  essential to check out the coach, the announcers, and The Clotherie “goods” on TV – make sure everything was showing up as it should. 99% of the time he was pretty proud. I loved seeing that in his face. I knew the hours, the heart, and the passion that brought everything to fruition, so it gave me a sense of pride too.

imageGregger’s long standing relationship with this incredible organization came full circle on September 24th, 2014. We received a call from the “top” telling us that US Airways was the only venue that could house all of the people who would attend Gregger’s memorial. Not only were we stunned to assume such an outpouring of love, but we were astounded by this generous honor.  So the sun set on my Gregger in the home of his Suns with more than 1000 fans tearfully bidding him adieu. It was an amazing tribute to an extraordinary man. He was honored with his own jersey – #13, his lucky number. I know he was watching that day. I know he could feel the love, the embrace of his biggest fans.

I went to one game this year. I saw Gregger everywhere. I saw his face, I felt his fist bump, I heard his cheers. I love the Suns and always will, but it just will never be the same without my cheer buddy by my side. Thanks Suns for 30 great years…here’s to a better season next year from one of your forever fans!


Mikki Eveloff

I am certainly no princess, but I did marry my Prince Charming. We had the once upon a time and the “almost” happily ever after until August 30th, 2014 when my Prince Gregger died tragically on the beach in Maui. I believe in fairytales. I believe in fate. I believe that “everything happens for a reason.” We planned a lifetime together…75 years to be exact. Someone or something changed our plans and gave us a new “ever after.” So here I am. I am still a wife, but now they call me a widow. I am a mom and grandma…three children, two in-laws, and two grandchildren. Life has changed and it’s time to move forward. It doesn’t stop, it keeps on going, so I do too. It’s my choice. Be happy, be grateful. It’s the only choice. I have a treasure trove of memories to’s how I keep the happily ever after alive. A True Love Fairytale is 40 years of memories…it’s the essence of our happily ever after. It’s the imperfections of our perfect marriage. And it’s what makes today beautiful.

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