Kevin Durant formally introduced to Suns fans
Durant was greeted by more than 3,000 excited Suns fans inside Footprint Center on Thursday
PHOENIX, Ariz. ( KYMA, KECY-TV ) - On Thursday afternoon, Phoenix Suns fans got their first glimpse of Kevin Durant in a Phoenix Suns uniform.
"This is a great day for our franchise," Suns general manager James Jones said. "I took this job a few years ago, determined to try to build a team built for championships. I think we've reached a point where we've been able to add arguably one of the greatest players to ever play this sport."
Watch the full introductory press conference here.
Jones added that it's taken a lot of hard work and determination as well as a lot of commitment from the fans and everyone inside and outside of Footprint Center.
"I stand here proud and happy to introduce, number 35 for the Phoenix Suns, Kevin Durant," Jones said.
The announcement was immediately followed by cheers from the fans in attendance.
"I appreciate the warm welcome," Durant said." But I've got more work to do."
The Suns franchise has existed for over 55 years and in that time, the team's trophy case is still missing a Larry O'Brien trophy.
"I know how significant a championship is to a franchise, to a city" Durant said. "I've been a part of two of those. I'm looking forward to getting back on that road and trying to do it again. I know how tough it is and how hard it is."
New Suns owner Matt Ishbia says he's just as excited as the fans.
"Phoenix has the best fans in the country," Ishbia said. "So, I'm proud to be out here with you."
Durant added that he could feel the excitement as soon as he got off the plane in Phoenix.
"I think we got all the pieces to be successful," Durant said. "We got guys with experience with what it's like to play in that final round. We've got a champion already overseeing us, Monty is a champion as a coach, so, we've got guys who have been there and that's half the battle, just knowing what it takes."
Durant and his number 35 jersey won't officially take the court for the Suns until sometime after the NBA All-Star break which starts on Friday. Durant is still recovering from an MCL injuring to his right knee sustained on January 8th.
On Thursday night, the Suns fell at home to the Los Angeles Clippers 116-107. Phoenix has 22 games in thee regular season and find themselves currently fifth in the Western Conference standings. They are only one game behind Sacrament for the third seed but only 3.5 ahead of 10th seeded Oklahoma City.
Down the stretch, the Suns will need a healthy roster on the floor including Durant to make a significant push.