March 19, 2001: The Atlanta Hawks, well on their way to another lottery season, hosted the mighty Lakers with both Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant firing on all cylinders. In Philips Arena stood many wearing the Lakers colors and as the game began, few could hear the strangled cries of happy Hawks fans (such as myself) over the din of the displaced Laker faithful.
As the game wore on, the overmatched Hawks held on and gained confidence they could win and the Hawks fans got louder and louder. The Lakers outrebounded the Hawks by a whopping 48-27 and Shaq and Kobe had (27) points apiece, but the Hawks continued to hang on.
In the end the Hawks' 9-19 shooting from three point range, 19-8 turnover margin, and Jason Terry's (36) points secured a 108-106 win over the Lakers, and as the final seconds finally ticked off, you could barely know that there had been any Laker fans in the crowd, as the ATL rang out in delirium over the upset.
I remember Griff from V-103 sticking a microphone in my face after the game and I babbled something about sending those chumps and their fans home unhappy and listen how loud and proud the ATL could be.
Despite being tethered to the bottom of the standings over the years and the Lakers continuing to fly high behind Kobe, the Hawks have still managed to beat them (5) times in the past decade at home, including the last two years. In last year's tilt, the Hawks overcame some pretty awful shooting to win--and featured the last double double seen from Zaza Pachulia (11 and 13 in 22 minutes).
The Hawks have beat a lot of team in Philips, especially since 2007, but beating the Lakers and the groupies that troll in from all corners of the ATL always feels that little extra special. It always takes me back to that night in 2001 where Shaq, Kobe, and all those purple and gold wearing trespassers had to hang their heads in shame.
Get loud ATL, and don't sit down tonight.