The biggest story of the 2014-15 season has not been the Golden State Warriors nor the return of LeBron James to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Atlanta Hawks have been lighting up the NBA.With no true superstar on the roster, the traditionally-mediocre Hawks have thrown the gears into overdrive, flying down the left lane towards the playoffs and owners of the best record in the NBA.
For their troubles, the Hawks were paid tribute at the Georgia capital in Atlanta, just down the street from the Phillips Arena where the Hawks have been punishing teams thoroughly and turned the usually half-empty arena into a jam-packed party.
Team vice president and Hall of Fame legend Dominique Wilkins and team owner Steven Koonin were on hand as the Hawks were recognized for their sportsmanship, citizenship and significant economic impact to the City of Atlanta. The 2015 Eastern Conference All-Star and Hawks Head Coach Mike Budenholzer, current players Kyle Korver and Elton Brand and Hawks alumni were on-site to meet with civic officials from throughout the state of Georgia.
Wilkins, nicknamed the “Human Highlight Film” during his spectacular career at the University of Georgia and the Hawks, was blown away by the recognition because it’s the first time during his 30-year career with the team that the Hawks had ever been bestowed such an honor.
Koonin said the Hawks’ streak of success has captured the imagination of fans beyond metro Atlanta.
“The recognition of the accomplishments should really go to our fans — from LaGrange to Macon to Ellijay, the Atlanta Hawks have become Georgia’s team,” he told lawmakers during the tribute.
Koonin also mentioned that, since the winning streak began, the team has experienced the fastest growing attendance in the NBA and television ratings soared an astounding 70 percent over the past year.
The Hawks are owners of the longest winning streak this season at 19 games, which is also the a franchise record and fourth-best winning streak in the history of the league. Behind the All-Star caliber play of point guard Jeff Teague, power forward Paul Milsap, sniper shooting guard Kyle Korver and center Al Horford, the Hawks have soared to the top of the Eastern Conference with a 40-9 record while demolishing the league’s most glamorous teams and traditional powers alike.