PHOENIX — Nearly 25 years ago, Tony Martin left Pegueros, Mexico -- a small town in the state of Jalisco.
"I came here looking for a better future….I only came with $30 in my pocket, sometimes, I slept on the streets,” says Martin, standing in front of the Suns arena on Wednesday morning.
As he reminisced on his humble beginnings, it is obvious Martin doesn’t forget where he came from.
“It feels numb," he adds when he stops and realizes that almost a quarter of a century after embarking on his American Dream, he is now living that dream in a big way. After founding the company Excalibur Hardwood Floors, he was recently tapped to help the Suns and the Phoenix Mercury with the upkeep of the floors.
"Now that they (Phoenix Suns) are in the NBA Finals, some people are like, 'what, did you do the floor?' It’s not me, it’s their team. They are a great team...they are doing amazing,” he adds.
Tony explains to ABC15 the process of putting together the floors is almost like a "big puzzle." He says he grew up working with wood and remembers watching NBA games in his home country.
"When I was little, I used to watch the games in the NBA. I was wondering how they do the lines, the logo, the designs, and here we are, years after that, doing it ourselves.”
Back in the summer of 2020, Excalibur Hardwood Floors was recommended to install the floors at the Suns' new practice facility.
"Once we did the practice facility, they liked the quality of work we did, I guess, and (we were) given the opportunity to start here.”
Tony says the tedious work done by his employees takes long hours and is not the product of an individual, but a team.
"I can’t help but feel a sense of pride and accomplishment after everything, a lot of the credit goes to our employees. Our team is great, they work really hard and attention to detail, it’s amazing.”
The Suns’ floors are the climax of his company’s accomplishments but he says they treat each floor with the same care and attention. Currently, his company is taking care of 37 gym floors across the Valley, primarily high school gyms.
"I think every floor that we touch, we go with the same mentality, just do the best we can. If it’s a small floor or an NBA floor, we do the same thing."
Martin says it still feels surreal that his company and his labor force are being showcased and seen not just here in Arizona or even across the country, but now, around the world.
"My wife, my kids, they get really excited and happy that we were able to get to this point. The American Dream is possible, it’s alive and it’s possible. If you work hard and do the right thing, it’s always possible."