GILBERT, AZ — Some of the most loyal Suns fans have been cheering on the team for decades. They have stuck by them through thick and thin, and they have the ticket stubs to prove it. They are fans living inside Valley assisted living facilities and have years' worth of colorful stories to share.
Suns fever was well and alive at Gilbert's Quail Park at Morrison Ranch. A sign saying "seniors for Suns" is greeting visitors driving into the facility. Inside, the main reception area and halls ways are decked out with Suns colors, streamers, and balloons. Residents were decked out in badges, team colors, and beads as they got ready to cheer on the home team for Thursday night's big game.
Among the fans at Quail Park at Morrison Ranch were Ione and Carl Biehler, both 91 years of age.
"We had season tickets. Fourth row from the floor," said Ione Biehler.
The Biehlers even worked for the Suns as ushers during the All-Star game in the 1990's and were among 153 fans who won tickets to fly to Houston with former Suns owner Jerry Colangelo, on a chartered jet, to root for the home team.
"It was an amazing time," said Ione Biehler.
"We'd always go early so we could watch the practice," she added.
Now the Biehlers are front and center at their assisted living facility, surrounded by fans as they cheer on the Suns. every chance they get.
Esther Ong, another resident at Quail Park at Morrison Ranch was expressing her enthusiasm for the Suns by creating badges with the Suns logo for all her 'neighbors to wear.
"I'm a diehard fan for Suns. You know, a long time ago, I didn't have money to have cable TV, so I drove 30 miles to my friend's house to watch the Suns game", said Ong.
"I get pretty tense and I want them to win," said LeahRae Duea.
"They just showed what they can do, and they come out, they win, they win, they win," added her husband, Ed Duea.
Suns fans at Quail Park at Morrison Ranch were confident in seeing the home team bringing home the trophy this year.
"They are going to win," said Ione Biehler.
"Go, go, go, bring home that trophy to us," cheered Ong.