National Guard soldier returns from Afghanistan, surprises 8-year-old son on court at Suns game (Video)

The Phoenix Suns were eliminated from the playoffs on Monday night, but their 97-91 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies did still manage provide a heartwarming moment for one Arizona family.

During stoppages in pay at home games at the U.S. Airways Center, the Suns often hold a "Hot or Cold?" contest, in which a contestant is plucked from the stands, brought to the court and blindfolded, and then has to find the inimitable Gorilla, who is holding a pizza. The arena crowd is asked to help the contestant out by yelling "HOT" when he or she is close to the Gorilla, and "COLD" when he or she isn't. Find the Gorilla, get free pizza for a year. (This is a pretty solid deal.)

When 8-year-old Logan Bledsoe finally got close, though, he found something even better than the Gorilla or free pizza. (Which is saying something.)

Logan's blindfold came off, and there standing before him was his father, Specialist Jamie Bledsoe of the California National Guard, who had just returned from a nine-month deployment in Afghanistan. Natalie Brand of has more:

“It’s been really hard, just to live by myself with my mom, grandma and grandpa,” Logan said.

Logan and his father Skyped as often as possible during deployment, but obviously nothing replaces seeing his dad in person.

“Mostly excitement,” Logan said of his initial reaction. [...]

Grateful for his own reunion, Bledsoe has this advice for his friends and fellow service members still deployed: “Talk to your family, regardless, any chance you can get,” he said.

Military reunions at sporting events have become increasingly common over the years, but that doesn't necessarily make them any less emotionally stirring. Welcome home, Specialist Bledsoe. Wear those dog tags in good health, Logan.

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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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