Al Horford, the Hispanic community, and Atlanta's transition from an NBA town to a Hawks town.

ESPN recently ran an associated press article on the NBA's plan to reach out to the Hispanic community.

After years of courting the European and Asian markets, the NBA is trying to build up its fan base among Hispanics.

The league will launch a marketing campaign on Monday called enebea -- the Spanish pronunciation of NBA. Featuring increased TV and internet exposure, plus community projects, the NBA hopes it will expand its reach among a demographic that makes up 15 percent of its fan base.

I am one who is always interested in figuring out how to make the Hawks a better product. The bottom line is always winning. The Hawks win and people will show up, tv ratings will increase, the city will buzz. We are a sports town that demands winners. But there are always things to do toward building that winner. Drafting well, playing hard, signing good free agents are obvious but along with that, to get the backing of the city, to get them excited about the product before you reach that championship level, the Hawks have to engage the the people. They have to make the Hawks a community team. In the last three years, coupled with the always necessary component of winning, the team has made huge strides to do just this. So when you hear the NBA wants to make new inroads with the Hispanic community, everyone's eyes should light up with excitement.

Al Horford is articulate, engaging, highly skilled NBA player who happens to very proud of his Hispanic roots. And I certainly understand where the Hawks brass did not have the infrastructure to reach out to the Hispanic community anymore than any other group as they just attempted to tread water as a business these past few years, but the team would be ridiculous not to jump on board a league wide initiative. Atlanta has one of the largest Hispanic populations in the country, and the NBA has shown these sorts of initiatives are not PR publicity stunts but real ways to grow the league across ethnicity and country lines.

I am all for getting anybody and everybody into to Phillips Arena. A sold out arena is the only good kind of arena. The atmosphere of 17,000 people has a surprising impact on the rest of the city. People know something is going on. It bleeds into offices and newspaper articles, to bars and dinner tables. And all of a sudden, the Hawks are the the talk of the town. If you want an entire city behind the Hawks, you cannot say it is so without reaching out to the Hispanic population. And we have just the guy to do it. It might not be in Al Horford's job description, but I don't think it even has to be. The guy loves his heritage, and as he should. And since it seems if the Atlanta Spirit are in the money making business and fans are in the fandom business, we should all want more people in the seats and watching at home. The Hawks are not an indie band you want to stay underground and cool. They are a team you want to see take over old gas stations and become by team gear stores. A team you want dads to surprise sons with playoff tickets as the biggest and best of surprises. We want 41 must be there nights every year at Phillips And that is going to be a team effort, a fandom effort, a city's effort. So Big Al, I say get on it.

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