The Atlanta Hawks are now a popular team in the NBA.
Before your laughter hinders you from finishing this, understand two of the most popular point guards in the league now reside in Atlanta.
It was only six years ago when Jeremy Lin sold more jerseys in a season than LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. The period of Linsanity was a moment for America. The cult following remains well and alive in the Asian-American community. The eight-year NBA veteran still has over a million followers on Instagram and over two million followers on Twitter. When our very own Malik Brown posted his initial thoughts on bringing Lin into the picture this season, the interactions from the post didn’t just come from the Armchair or Atlanta community. The interactions were coming from fan pages and fan pages for Lin. They all had different photoshops or animated cover photos and profile pictures of him in Atlanta gear already.
For the culture
Lin recently posted a picture of K-Pop hip-hop artist Jay Park and himself on his Instagram. Jay Park is a huge K-Pop artist. He’s popular to the point that he finessed his way to Atlanta to shoot a music video with 2 Chainz. He also cashed in on a Rich The Kid feature as well.
Next season, the Hawks are debuting the complete renovations at Philips Arena. Team CEO Steve Koonin has been dedicated to continuing to grow the Hawks’ fan base and popularity in the meantime. Perhaps one night next season, the marketing team finds a way to have another cultured-theme night. That could involved loyal fan 2 Chainz doing his feature with Lin’s mutual fans, Jay Park. BTS is perhaps the biggest musical act in K-Pop right now. The group has really tried to break into mainstream American media this summer. Landing them for a performance on a culture night would be an immediate sell out as well. The possibilities are endless.
Connecting with different cultures is what made Atlanta United so popular immediately in the city and now the Hawks have a legitimate chance at doing the same.
Now that Dennis Schroder is officially gone, Lin now has the chance to fully embrace his bounce back opportunity in Atlanta as much as the city will in all likelihood accept him.
4 D A C U L T U R E
There’s no denying that Trae Young is a star.
Even when he couldn’t hit a basket the size of the Burlington Coat Factory at Greenbriar Mall, all eyes were on him. The Hawks have had many great players since Dikembe Mutombo. Joe Johnson, Al Horford, Josh Smith, Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, Paul Millsap and Dwight Howard were all great players. They were at least all in the conversation to make the All-Star Game during their time in Atlanta. Young, however, has something that all of those great players, considering 2016 Howard and not 2011 Howard, didn’t have, which is star quality.
The star quality isn’t something that can be taught or grow on a player, it’s just there naturally.
When Young flipped a switch and stop shooting every 30-footer he had the chance to take for better shots in the Las Vegas Summer League, he continued to be the talk of the draft class. This time, it was in a more positive light.
In his first month as a Hawk, Young has done more nationally-televised interviews than any other Hawk has done since Howard. Other than the Howard season, the team has been relatively nonexistent in the eyes of the basketball world. Even during that 60-win season with an undefeated January. That season, the starting five did as many nationally-televised interviews as the Boston Celtics wrapped up in a two-month playoff run this past season without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.
Another famous Hawks fan Quavo, the lead vocalist for Migos, has advocated for Young since day one. A third of his tweets this month has been dedicated to Young. That makes it that much more difficult to avoid such support from one of the hottest musical acts in the world right now. Also, add NBA legend Kobe Bryant to the list of supporters after dedicating his last episode of “Detail” to the Atlanta rookie.
While Lin is immensely popular in his own right, Young is the reason why the Hawks are going to have a fair share of nationally televised games this season.
The seven-footer went from being the second round underdog to the 3-point goggles wearing fan favorite. No matter how empty Philips Arena became as the rebuilding process began, the chants of “MOOOOOOOOSEEEE” still rang throughout the city every time he checked into the game. Muscala, like Kent Bazemore and few other Hawks players, treated everyone with respect during his time in Atlanta, even the media.
Philadelphia has received another good one from Atlanta.
Schroder represented Atlanta until he finished playing his last game with the Hawks. In one of the last matchups of the season when the team was only in contention for the No. 1 pick, Schroder still played the best game of his young career. He finished with 41 points in Utah against the Jazz.
His time in Atlanta didn’t go without blemish certainly. Schroder was arrested last year for battery. He and his “flex gang” entourage allegedly jumped a man at a hookah bar. He came into the league as a teenager from Germany and wrapped his Audi in gold. Schroder often kept his distance in the locker room from other teammates after losses. One thing that could never be questioned was his effort in between the lines every night.
Thursday’s trade with the Thunder and the 76ers now leaves Bazemore as the only remaining player from the 60-win year. That’s bittersweet and shows that this is a new era of Hawks basketball.