PHOENIX - They are representing Philadelphia in the Southwest.
Guard Dionte Christmas and forwards and twins Marcus and Markieff Morris bring a Philadelphia flavor to the Phoenix Suns.
"It's amazing," Markieff Morris said of three Philadelphians playing on the same team, before the Suns played the 76ers. "We are just making it happen for the city and doing what we've got to do."
The Morris twins even showed Christmas a little brotherly love after he signed his free-agent contract with the team on Sept. 13. The former Temple standout, who played overseas the previous four seasons, moved into the Morris' eight-bedroom house.
"Coming here [and] being with the twins has really helped me since the day I landed and got to Phoenix," said Christmas, who's from the West Oak Lane neighborhood. "Those guys have been helping me throughout the whole process."
The Morris twins, who hail from North Philadelphia, stood out at Prep Charter and later at Kansas. Markieff Morris was selected by the Suns with the 13th overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft. The Houston Rockets drafted Marcus Morris one pick later. He was traded to Phoenix last season.
'Bluff City' ballers
While the Morris twins and Christmas are the pride of Philly, Memphis can boast of having three Sixers.
Power forward Thaddeus Young, reserve guard Elliot Williams, and reserve power forward Arnett Moultrie all hail from "Bluff City."
"People don't know, man," Williams said. "Memphis got some ballers out there. So it's pretty much a pride thing to have three guys from the city represent."
Young was born in New Orleans, but his family moved to Memphis when he was in the fourth grade. He went on to become a 2006 McDonald's all-American at Mitchell High School. Williams attended St. George's Independent School, where the 24-year-old was a 2008 McDonald's all-American. Moultrie was born in Queens, N.Y., and moved to Memphis before starting high school. The 23-year-old was a standout at Raleigh-Egypt High School.
"There's a lot of guys in Memphis that can play basketball," Young said. "We always say this: 'There's a guy standing on the corner right now that will come into the gym and be able to go out there and get 20 points right now.' "
The first 5,000 fans received Jeff Hornacek bobblehead dolls. Hornacek, the first-year coach of the Suns, has a link to the Sixers. The former Suns standout was traded to the Sixers after the 1991-92 season along with Andrew Lang and Tim Perry in exchange for Charles Barkley. Hornacek played in Philly for two seasons before being traded to the Utah Jazz.
Hornacek was asked what he remembered about playing in Philadelphia. His response: "I remember that we weren't that good."