Deandre Ayton on road fans: ‘When you talk smack, we smack your team’

Brad Sullivan
2 Min Read
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton offered a strong message to opposing fans as the Suns get set to start their 2022 NBA Playoffs journey.

The 23-year-old is in his fourth NBA season after the Suns selected him as the top overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. He’s been a regular in the team’s starting lineup since then and is a key part of what’s become a powerhouse franchise.

During the 2021-22 regular season, Ayton started all 58 of the games he played in, averaging a double-double with 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. He also averaged 1.4 assists per contest.

Generally, most athletes tune out comments from fans of other teams and just focus on their game. Others, like Ayton, use negative comments directed at them or their team as motivation to quiet any further talk.

Ayton and the Suns ended up with the top record in the NBA in the regular season, winning 64 of their 82 games. That performance came after the Suns finished with the second-best record in the league last year and reached the 2021 NBA Finals.

Until Friday night, the Suns’ first-round opponent for this year’s playoffs remained a mystery, given the elimination game between the New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Clippers.

The Pelicans beat the Clippers 105-101, and they’ll now head to Phoenix to start their series with the Suns on Sunday evening.

Considering Ayton’s youth and the strong roster his team currently has, the Suns could remain a force in the NBA for the next few years. That status may energize more fans to talk trash to them, but Ayton appears prepared to handle any onslaught.

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Brad has written on a variety of both NBA and NFL topics and has worked previously as a sports information director at the collegiate level. A lifetime fan of sports, he's witnessed countless great moments in different sports and understands that stories can be compelling from both the perspective of winners and losers. As a frustrated fan of Cleveland sports, he experienced something unprecedented when the Cavaliers won the city's first championship in 52 years.