The NBA Playoffs are here and the Atlanta Hawks have made it to the first round to match up against the second seed in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics. The Hawks have found themselves in an 0-2 hole against the Celtics and have at times looked flat. Could it be because they missed the enthusiasm of the home crowd in State Farm Arena?
Oftentimes the Atlanta crowd receives a bad reputation because if you look around the arena you may see just as many fans of the opposing team as you see Hawks fans. Usually this time of the year though, the Hawks fans are loud, proud, and ready to represent the ATL.
How do we know that this Hawks roster looks to the crowd and feeds off of its energy? Well, do you remember the game in Atlanta against the Golden State Warriors on March 17th? In that game, the Hawks fought a tough battle with the Warriors and made some nice defensive plays down the stretch to seal the victory, 127-119.
After the game, Atlanta forward John Collins was being interviewed by Hawks PA announcer Big Tigger and he stopped mid-speech to address the audience:
“ATL, I gotta hold y’all accountable man,” Collins said. “Another team comes into this building…y’all should never be outcheered by the other team! Feel me? ATL stand up!”
The message was taken a variety of ways by many Atlanta Hawks fans, but the way I believe it was intended was that the players are very much paying attention. They hear the cheers, the boos, and the chants of “Let’s Go Hawks!” They feel the energy in the building and it has the power to motivate the players or deflate the team’s spirit.
Atlanta Hawks-Boston Celtics shifts to State Farm Arena
Players sometimes like to get up on the podium when they are addressing the media and act like the crowd doesn’t matter and that they will play just as hard in an empty building. (The pandemic bubble taught us that that was a lie, right?)
His teammate (and the Hawks’ actual sixth man), Bogdan Bogdanovic, certainly agrees.
So as fans, the Atlanta Hawks need you to show up to Game 3 on Friday. Tip-off is at 7 o’clock and the crowd is going to get to the arena early to beat traffic and pick up those free playoff t-shirts
Next, fans need to cheer for the home team through the good and the bad. Boo the Celtics, chant for the Hawks’ defense, and don’t let the building get taken over by the green and white. Remember, during the fourth quarter when the other team is at the free throw line and they miss two consecutive free throws, the crowd gets free Chick-Fil-A.
Be loud and have fun but most of all be respectful. Try not to end up on the wrong side of someone’s social media timeline. Motivate the Hawks to get two wins, tie the series and go back to Boston as a threat to win the series.