Over the years, The Atlanta Hawks have seen many players come and go.
Some for a long time and some for a short period of time. But what I wonder as a long time fan is that during my era of witnessing Hawks basketball, what player that I’ve watched over the years would get a chance of actually getting their jersey retired as a Hawk? Even though none of these players have brought a championship to Atlanta, but some of the names I have in mind, might get that luxury. Some of these names may not get that luxury but might have a honorable mention for it.
1. Joe Johnson- Joe Johnson spent about 7 years in Atlanta. Joe Johnson really changed the culture of basketball when it comes to Hawks basketball. Atlanta really hasn’t had a superstar caliber player since Dominique Wilkins, but Joe Johnson was the closest to it. Joe Johnson made the All-Star team while with the Hawks 7 years in a row. In his 7 years here he averaged 20.9 points per game. One of our primary scorers over the years. He received the nickname “Iso Joe” as he was credited for his ability of being a great 1 on 1 player and scoring at a high rate when he was in isolation with a defender. He had many great moments here in Atlanta. Where he played a big part in taking the #1 seeded Boston Celtics To 7 games in 2008. He also had a lot of great performances here in Atlanta. One of the those heroic performances was against the Utah Jazz in 2012 where he scored 37 points in a 4OT game. Joe Johnson scored 10,606 points as a Hawks and is currently 6th on the All-Time scoring list. He made the all star team 6 years in a row here as well. Joe Johnson has a good resume with his time with the Atlanta Hawks, but fans what do you think? Should Joe get his number retired? (I believe it’s possible in my personal opinion)
2. Josh Smith- Josh Smith was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in 2004 at the 17th pick. Coming out of high school, Josh Smith was known for his incredible athleticism. He was known for his monstrous dunks and his chase down “out of nowhere” blocks. In 2005, Josh Smith won the Rising Stars Sprite Slam Dunk competition. That dunk contest put Josh Smith on the map as one of the best dunkers in the NBA. He played a big part of the success of the Hawks along with Joe Johnson. Josh Smith was the face of the slogan “The Highlight Factory”. Where his big plays would surface the sports world. Even though Josh was popular for his amazing plays, he always didn’t make the best decisions on the court and fans responded very harshly with that. Josh Smith wanted to become a three point shooter so bad, but it never happened for him. It got so bad to the point that fans would yell “NO!” if he had the ball beyond the three point arc. He was very nonchalant in those three point attempts and clearly did not care about what others felt. That’s the only negative thing about his career here in Atlanta. He also may have been one of those players who was very good but wasn’t ‘great’ in a sense. He never made the All-Star team and sometimes could be inconsistent. Despite never making a All-Star team and his flaws as a player, Josh will always be remembered as a Hawk. In his time here in Atlanta, Josh had 10,371 career points, 1,440 career blocks and is #2 in All-Time Blocks for Atlanta. He had 857 career steals with Atlanta and he sits at #5 in All-Time steals for the Hawks as well. So Hawks Fans, do you think Josh Smith should get his jersey retired by the Hawks? (Me personally I really would like that as I was a big fan of his but honestly, I don’t see it happening.)
3. Al Horford- Al Horford was drafted at 3rd overall in the 2007 NBA Draft. Ever since Al Horford stepped on the court with the Hawks he was an immediate impact. Horford had a tremendous rookie season as he finished 2nd in the Rookie of The Year race behind Brandon Roy of the Portland Trailblazers. Al Horford’s hard work and determination never went unnoticed by fans. He played every game with the same energy and passion. Horford was very versatile player. He could post up, take a defender off the dribble and hit the mid-range jumper. Later on in his years with Atlanta he developed a three point shot, which made him very dangerous on the court. Al Horford was the definition of “#TrueToAtlanta”. He was very active in the Atlanta community and was very passionate about this team and this city. One of the top moments of his time here was Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Washington Wizards where he scored the game winning basket with 1.9 seconds left in the game. Probably one of the most iconic moments in franchise history. Al Horford had an excellent career here in Atlanta. He had a total of 8,288 career points here in Atlanta. He also made the all star team four times as a Hawk. He’s number 8 in All Time Rebounders as well. Should Al Horford get his number retired as Hawk? (I believe he will, and I believe it’s well deserved.)
These individuals are the only ones in my opinion that have a opportunity in getting their jerseys retired. All three had pretty good careers here in a Hawks uniform.