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1993 Vs. 2021: How Things Have Changed In Phoenix Since Suns Last Finals Appearance

By Phil Latzman
Published: Tuesday, July 6, 2021 - 11:20am
Updated: Thursday, July 22, 2021 - 11:31am

Phoenix Suns Arena center-hung scoreboard jumbotron
Tim Agne/KJZZ
The center-hung scoreboard at the newly renovated Phoenix Suns Arena.

The NBA Finals are in Phoenix for the first time in 28 years and a whole lot has changed since the Phoenix Suns last appearance in 1993.

Since it’s basketball, we’ll start on a baseline. According to the inflation calculator, what cost a dollar back then should now cost you about $1.86. That’s an 86% cumulative rate of inflation.

In 1993 an NBA Finals ticket cost as little as $27. Today, even the cheapest seats are more than $500. Why? Well, the average NBA salary was about $1 million that year — today, it’s 8.2 million.

As for other comparisons:

Gas prices then were about 75 cents per gallon in Arizona. Today, they’re almost four times as much at nearly $3 per gallon.

The median home price in Phoenix back in 1993? Just $89,000. Today, it’s soaring towards $400,000.

Devin Booker wasn’t even alive the last time the Suns played in the finals. But the Suns 24-year-old superstar shooting guard showed up at media day on Monday sporting a vintage 1993 Suns T-shirt, a tribute to the Charles Barkley led-squad that captivated the Valley but lost to Michael Jordan and the dynastic Chicago Bulls.

Charles Barkley
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
A huge display inside Phoenix Suns Arena in Phoenix chronicles the career of Charles Barkley.

After years of futility and more than a decade missing the playoffs, Booker was paying tribute to the Suns past glory days.

“You hear people say, I remember when I watched Charles and them — and you hear those stories all the time, and seeing the passion in their eyes they’re telling the story.” Booker said.

“Even being at the bottom of the barrel for the past five years and them still showing up and still showing love shows the passion that they have for this team.”