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72 reasons to be excited about the Atlanta Hawks: #23 the Joe Johnson logo

 Remember that time, I said it was exciting to play the underdog? Well, it is true and I am, but the Hawks are not the laughing stock of the league anymore. They are really not the butt of many jokes at all. Take away the fact that we do not really know who owns the team, and Atlanta is your good ol' normal franchise. Might not seem like much, but for those of you who weathered the darker days, it is quite nice to not have "Really?" be the go to response to you stating that you are a Hawks fan. The Hawks are respectable. Free agents will sign here. We don't even have to pay a "we suck" tax anymore. Considering, not too long ago, the closest we could get to signing a decent free agent was having Samuel Dalembert visit so he could leverage with another team, I would say we have come a long way. It really is reason to be excited.

And of course, this journey began or at least excerlated or at the very least took real form with the signing of Joe Johnson. So it seems fitting that when you head to the NBA section of CNNSI  the banner is none other than number two. Four years ago, this literally would have been a punchline to a below average joke. Now it is real. No one wants to just be respectable, but you cannot become a contender without first working your way out of the punchline. The Hawks have. Real progress has been made. It can be symbolized in a ticket sales increase or an improvement in wins or a Joe Johnson jpeg, but it is happening. The Hawks are moving forward. Let's start the season. (HT dkrib for the idea.)