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Atlanta Hawks honored by the General Assembly and Gov. Deal

Atlanta Hawks

Calvin Smyre, Steve Koonin, Dominique Wilkins, and Gov. Nathan Deal celebrate the Atlanta Hawks (Photos by Maria Saporta)

By Maria Saporta

For the first time in the history of the Atlanta Hawks franchise – at least as far as folks can remember, the team was honored by the Georgia Legislature on Tuesday.

State Rep. Calvin Smyre (D-Columbus) started planning back in December for the Hawks to have a special day during the 2015 session.

Atlanta Hawks

Calvin Smyre, Steve Koonin, Dominique Wilkins, and Gov. Nathan Deal celebrate the Atlanta Hawks (Photos by Maria Saporta)

“The timing couldn’t have been better with the 16-game winning streak,” Smyre said of Tuesday’s events at the State Capitol.

Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins as well as Hawks President and CEO Steve Koonin were presented with proclamations at both chambers – the House and the Senate.

Then they went to visit with Gov. Nathan Deal for a private chat about the team and a short photo opportunity with the media. They later were to be joined by a couple of current Hawks players who were to be available to meet with members of the General Assembly.

“I’m pretty sure the Atlanta Hawks have not been honored before by the Legislature,” Smyre said. “I’ve been here 41 years, and I can’t remember them having been honored before. It’s long overdue.”

Atlanta Hawks

Steve Koonin, Dominique Wilkins and Calvin Smyre at the State Capitol

Dominique Wilkins said he personally had been honored when he had been made ambassador for diabetes for the state of Georgia, but that wasn’t done as an honor for the Atlanta Hawks.

Gov. Deal was pleased to be able to share some of the Hawks’ winning spirit, and he seemed especially happy when Koonin invited him to come to any game of his choice.

“We are all proud of the Atlanta Hawks,” Deal said, adding that it gives Georgia another reason to boast about its success. “We are looking forward to a championship at the end of the year.”

Currently, the Atlanta Hawks are enjoying a tremendous season with a record of 37 wins to 8 losses. It is first in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. Its 16-game winning streak is the longest in the history of the franchise.

Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.



  1. Carl Holt January 27, 2015 7:24 pm

    Old, white Republicans watch the Hawks?Report

  2. Michael Leo Owens January 29, 2015 11:12 am

    Everyone loves you when you’re winning! MiLOReport

  3. Danny Williams January 30, 2015 12:39 am

    oh say they waking up to the rest of civilization huh. well i will be d#%@!-Report

  4. Russell Kay-z January 30, 2015 1:19 am


  5. Russell Kay-z January 30, 2015 1:21 am

    What does that mean? #ObamaCareReport

  6. Sean Jenkins January 30, 2015 3:22 am

    4 what? This is a little premature! #WinAChampionship1stReport

  7. Danny Williams January 30, 2015 1:20 pm

    well at least they are trying to connect to atl like its a part of ga. almost as bad as ga. tech acting like they want nothing to do with the cityReport

  8. Danny Williams January 30, 2015 1:21 pm

    i have been here since 1983 and it amazes me how ga. tech. acts towards atl and its popl.Report


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