Archive for the ‘Hawks’ Category

Wanted: iconic sports figures

Atlanta is a good sports town, but not a great one.  No one would put it up there with the great sports towns like Boston, New York, Chicago, or LA.  I wonder if you have to be a great metropolis to be a great sports town, but that is a different post.  This one is about what is missing that prevents Atlanta from being a great sports town rather than just a good one.

I started thinking about this while watching the Hawks lose a close one to Boston last night with James.  None of the Hawks players really have the kind of star power that you get with someone like Kevin Garnett, and it seems like teams in great sports cities either need or attract players with star power.  Kobe, Jordan, Ewing, Garnett, Magic, Bird.  The fact that guys like Karl Malone and John Stockton were big stars in places like Utah are practically the exception that proved the rule – they were notable as much for being stars in out of the way places.  I think you see this across the board in sports.  Obviously the Yankees, but teams like the Cubs and the Red Sox have a certain cachet because they have a great following.  Ditto for the Bears and the Giants.  You can go ahead and substitute the USC football team and its impressive list of stars for this discussion.  

Atlanta has had its stars, of course.  Smoltz, Herschel, ‘Nique, Aaron.  Vick.  The players and teams don’t really stack up with the other towns, though, in terms of city-making icon status.  I’m talking about the folks that the town embraces, stars that become the face of the city.  Jordan/Chicago, Bird/Boston, Ewing/New York, Kobe and Magic/LA.  The stars themselves seem to effuse big-city glamour and prestige.  

Of course, these stars also come with ginormous egos.  Tabloid stories about gambling, or infidelity, who they are dating, etc.  Isn’t that part of what goes along with being a great sports town?  An unhealthy obsession with stars?  

I’m not saying that Atlanta needs all that, or even aspires to be a great sports town.  I’m more just meditating on what exactly it means to be a great sports town.  I think larger than life sports figures are a requirement.

required reading for hawks fans.

since i decided to adopt the atlanta hawks before last season i have become a pretty rabid fan. i love this team and i absolutely love going to phillips arena (aka the highlight factory) to see games. in fact i’ll be heading there tonight to see the hawks play the grizzlies and hopefully catch the return of star forward josh smith (who had been out for more than a dozen games with an ankle sprain.)

i’ll be blogging a bit about my hawks-love (inlcuding big man-crushes on al horford and joe johnson) here but i am by no means a savvy basketball writer. so if you want to catch hawks fever with me, i figured i would take a brief moment and direct you to some places where you can pick up some really good hawks analysis and news.

to start with, the blog of ajc hawks beat writer sekou smith is the most important. sekou is one of the best beat writers i have ever read and if it is going down in the nba and it realtes to the hawks, sekou will report it.

continuing on with the official blogs to read, micah hart writes the hawks basketblog on as the team’s official “blogger” hart has lots of access to players for interviews, practice sessions and other behind-the-scenes goodies. well worth reading.

on the unofficial side i highly recommend peachtree hoops a dedicated hawks blog. peacthree hoops carries a preview before each game as well as a game report after each game with very good insight, analysis and other links. well worth reading.

i also really like zaza’s playground. it may not be as technical as p’tree hoops, but the author’s passion for the hawks is evident, as is his basketball i.q., and he can just be downright hilarious. if he gets on a mike woodson rant, watch out.

i also just start reading heavy koncak. it seems to be updated much less and i don’t have an impression of it yet, but with that name how can you go wrong?

so there ya’ go.

happy reading and LET’S GO HAWKS!!!

c’mon hawks fans. seriously.

i love the hawks. my affair with atlanta’s once-hapless basketball franchise started last year. i decided to become a hawks fan because i a) wanted a local team to root for and i already had a baseball team, didn’t like football and thought the thrashers were boring and b) the hawks seemed like the kind of lovable losers that i could get behind (see aforementioned baseball team cubs, chicago.)

a funny thing happened on the way to the highlight factory though, i really fell in love with this team. first, live basketball is just great. it has an energy and intensity that comes from so much scoring and an intimacy that comes from their being no barriers between athletes and spectators that no other professional sport matches. second, the hawks are a good team. they have good, caliber players who play hard, don’t showboat and seem to get that they are there for the fans.

oh and we are good this year. 7-4 good with key injuries. have beaten top teams like the hornets and the magic good. played the world champs to a one point loss on their home court good.

so here is my plea to atlanta’s fans.


seriously. is it that much to ask? last night the hawks played the wiz in a tight game. midway through the fourth quarter the hawks had battled back and the game was virtually deadlocked. marvin wiliams had come to play, the hawks needed a win bad after 4 straight losses and a god 1/3 of the crowd (many of whom had arrived late to being with) took off and left.

and then with 50 seconds left, game on the line, more people left.

and then we wonder why we don’t get taken seriously as a sports town…

p.s. – the hawks won. and i saw every moment including marvin wiliams burying a clutch three to seal the game with only seconds left on the clock.

Hawks grounded

I apologize for the pun. Something about blogging brings out the junior copy editor in me.

Or I’m just naturally cheesy.

Anyhow, the Celtics won and the Hawks lost. Still nice to see/hear Philips rocking. *This* was what many folks in town (and james and I) have been talking about/waiting for: an energetic style of play and an outpouring of hometown, homecourt support.

Will it last next season? With the coach?

And you could do far worse than read some of CL’s blogging on the subject. They seem to get the local angle, the sports and the blogging. Kudos!

Hawks even series with Celtics, 2-2

Anybody think the Hawks will eventually win/Celtics lose this first-round series.

And if you haven’t been watching this series, the Hawks are a different team at Philips than they were in Boston. Josh Smith and Joe Smith are *definitely* worth the price of admission.

Who’s going Friday night?

playoffs. seriously.

i tried to tell you a long time ago. our hawks ended the nba’s longest playoff drought and snuck in as an 8 seed in the eastern conference finals.

the hawks open tonight against the celtics in boston. sekou smith has the match-ups, and you can see how hard it will be. the hawks have lost all the regular season games against the celtics by 10 points or more, getting blown out by 23 in the first meeting.

the celtics are arguably the best team in the nba, and one blogger is seriously hoping the hawks can just win ONE game.

the hawks are 15.5 point underdogs, which according to some is probably a good bet. i’d offer to bet my friends over at the boston metblogs but i am a realist.

either way they are in the dance and it’s nice to say i told you so…..

don’t look now….

but after rattling off an overtime victory last night against shaq and the miami heat, the hawks are now 1 game above .500.

the win extends the hawks winning streak to three games and a quick look at the nba standings show the hawks with a clear route to the playoffs.

i tried to tell you, i tried to tell you again.

do you believe yet?

TJ Ford versus Al Horford

Yesterday I had a post all queued up about the Hawks season so far. They’d reached .500 (10-10) had reeled off 3 straight wins – the last against one of the East’s hottest teams, Orlando – and they seemed ready to make the leap to the next level.

Then this happened:

My wife and I were actually watching live as Raptors guard TJ Ford stole a ball and went in for a layup when rookie Hawk Al Horford fouled him hard in the face, sending Ford to the floor where he struck his head against the court.

My synopsis doesn’t really do it justice. Watch the video. I saw it live and I could hardly believe it.

It really sucks for TJ, a talented young player who already missed an entire season (2004-2005) with back and neck problems. Our thoughts and prayers are with TJ and his family.

Poor guy got the business end of a lazy defensive effort by an equally young and talented, though inconsistent, big man in Al Horford. Yet another reason (for me, anyway) to hate Florida Gators. Horford was ejected for a Flagrant 2 foul.

This is a big turning point for the Hawks. How do they overcome this event and the loss of their streak? And what about Toronto?

Oh, and since we’re on sports, the Falcons lost head coach Bobby Petrino to the University of Arkansas.

Is it Baseball season yet? How are the Thrashers even doing?

it’s not smarta….

okay, a bit of a rant here, but this sunday i went to witness the hawks implosion against the washington wizards, and per my pledge i decided to ride marta to phillips arena.


first thing, all of the sporting events are off-peak so if you miss the train by 30 seconds as we did you are totally screwed while you wait another twenty minutes to get the next one.

and then when the game lets out there are absolutely NO trains waiting at the station.

what sucks about this is i know how much better it could be done. in dc, when there is a major event, they run extra trains leading up to the game on the line that runs to the mci center.

and when a game is over? there are trains just waiting, WAITING, to take the crowds home.

seriously, i really want to not drive. i want to do the responsible thing and not drive, but c’mon, can’t marta give a little?

and i would think that atlanta spirit would get on board too. if it was easier to get to, don’t you think that more people would actually go to the games????

okay, i’m done ranting….tell me why i am a fool.

no joke.


i tried to tell you guys. i tried to get some of you on the bandwagon.

last night, the atlanta hawks beat last season’s holder of the best regular season record, the dallas mavericks, 101-94.

yes you heard me right. the hawks beat the mavericks.

they looked good too. they were playing hard, hustling for every ball and taking everything dallas had to throw at them. the rookies, acie law and al horford looked good – horford was dominating dirk nowitzki until he came out with foul trouble – and joe johnson and josh smith played lights out.

that picture, unfortunately taken from my iphone because the batteries on my camera died, is the scene in phillips arena right after joe johnson scored to put the hawks up by five and seal the game. it was amazing, the whole place was on their feet, waving the flags they gave out and screaming their lungs out for THE HAWKS.

do you believe yet?

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