Mike Budenholzer Was Willing to Go to Extraterrestrial Lengths to Coach Suns

May 17, 2024; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Mike Budenholzer arrives during a press conference
May 17, 2024; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Mike Budenholzer arrives during a press conference / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Budenholzer would go to the moon to coach the Phoenix Suns.

The NBA championship-winning head coach, who reportedly agreed to terms with the Suns on a five-year contract worth over $50 million this past week, was officially introduced as the team's head coach during a press conference on Friday.

Budenholzer, a native of Holbrook, Ariz., and a childhood fan of the Suns, was not shy about expressing just how badly he wanted the job, as he told reporters that he "would go anywhere to coach this team," including to outer space.

"I think the biggest message I want you to hear, like, I would coach this team if it was on the moon," Budenholzer said. " I would coach this team if it was in Alaska. If these players were in Denmark, these owners and front office. ... I would go anywhere to coach this team."

While the image of Budenholzer, decked out in full astronaut's gear huddling together the Suns roster, is quite amusing, it also speaks to just how motivated and committed the former Milwaukee Bucks coach, who led the franchise to its first NBA title since 1971 back in '21, is to taking the Suns to the next level.

Phoenix, just three years removed from bowing out to Budenholzer's Bucks in the 2021 NBA Finals, seemed poised to make a title run after adding three-time All-Star Bradley Beal to a core that already included two-time Finals MVP Kevin Durant and four-time All-Star Devin Booker.

But injuries and a lack of depth doomed the Suns, who were swept by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round of the playoffs, ultimately leading to the firing of Frank Vogel after just one season.

Now, the Suns have a coach who would go to the moon and back for them.


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Tim Capurso

TIM CAPURSO

Tim Capurso is a Staff Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. Previously he wrote for RotoBaller and ClutchPoints, where he was the lead editor for MLB, College Football and NFL coverage. A lifelong Yankees and Giants fan, Tim grew up just outside New York City and now lives near Philadelphia. When he's not writing, Tim enjoys reading, exercising and spending time with his family, including his three-legged cat Willow, who, unfortunately, is an Eagles fan.