It’s been said that Dan Majerle was “One of the hardest working players to ever play in the NBA…” While Dan always hustled to the maximum and gave every ounce on the court, he has instilled that work ethic into his business life as a restaurateur as well.
A Phoenix Suns legend and Ring of Honor inductee, who is now The Head Coach for the Grand Canyon University Men’s Basketball team, Dan applied his renowned work ethic on the court to another endeavor, and in December of 1992, Majerle’s Sports Grill opened in downtown Phoenix. During his 14-year NBA career, Dan discovered the importance of finding a restaurant close to sports arenas and hotels, one where both professional athletes and local residents could find delicious food in a fun and comfortable setting, either before or after the game.
Originally selected with the 14th overall pick by the Suns in the 1988 NBA Draft, Majerle quickly became a permanent fan favorite while playing eight seasons in Phoenix (1988-95, 2001-02). The 6-6 swingman, who was a member of the Suns’ 1993 Western Conference Championship squad, played one season in Cleveland and five in Miami following his departure from Phoenix via trade on Oct. 7, 1995. Dan returned to Phoenix for the 2001-02 season, where he sank his franchise-record 800th and final career three-pointer with 25.3 seconds remaining in the season finale on April 17, 2002 vs. Dallas.
“Thunder Dan” was inducted into the Suns’ Ring of Honor, the team’s highest honor, on March 9, 2003. At the ceremony, Suns Chairman Jerry Colangelo announced the creation of the Dan Majerle Hustle Award, explaining, “When you think of Dan Majerle, you think of a guy who gave maximum effort in every game, every practice, in everything he did. It is this work ethic that inspired the creation of the award.” It is given annually to a Suns player exemplifying those attributes and was won in 2008 by Grant Hill.
Majerle was a three-time All-Star (1992, ’93, ’95) who became the first reserve in NBA history to be voted an All-Star starter in 1995 when the game was last held in Phoenix. The 14-year NBA veteran ranks sixth in league history with 1,360 three-pointers made and holds the NBA Finals record with 17 three-pointers made in a series against Chicago in 1993.
Majerle spent four seasons as an analyst on Suns television broadcasts starting in 2002. He made his broadcast debut working for TNT during the 2003 NBA Playoffs and has also worked for ESPN and ABC.
The Traverse City, Mich., native has four children and still gets back home every year to keep that small town feel alive.