On July 2nd 2012, Hawks fans around the nation celebrated their own "Independence Day" as Joe Johnson was traded to the Brooklyn Nets. This same day Atlanta lost long time and often times nitpicked Hawk Marvin Williams to the Utah Jazz via trade. It was apparent on our Independence day that Danny Ferry had a plan and the first thing that needed to be done for better words "gutting" the core and the roster.
Well it has been a little over a year and it seems that Ferry wasn't finished as we lost the remaining 2 players on the roster that have been around and ultimately helped me turn from a basketball fan in 2002 to a Hawks fan to a die hard and passionate fan of the Atlanta Hawks that you guys know today. To me at the time, Josh and Zaza represented something to me more than the Hawks could give at the time especially during the time when the Hawks were the laughing stock of the NBA and even ostracized in all forms of media.
It's almost hard for me to forget the days when everyone including fans of Atlanta sports said that the only reason they would bother to attend Hawks games was to watch the opposing teams. Well THANK GOD Josh Smith won the dunk contest because personally I could argue to people that no matter the Hawks record at the time that Josh Smith was probably the best dunker in the NBA at the time. I mean back then how could you argue with this?
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Talking Josh Smith around this time was one of my favorite things to do since he could help me forget about the horrible teams, the mystery at point guard, the 13 win season and yes a little later Sheldon WIlliam's. So you can only image my anger at when I thought Josh was cheated out of his second dunk contest. Note: he did a 2 handed tomahawk behind the free throw line..............2 HANDED!!!!!!!
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Anyway moving on the Hawks had a big impact at the time on my life since I was living in Virginia at the time and Hawks fan population of that area included just me. Now like Josh, Zaza had an impact on me much like how Hawksdawgs discussed in his article. To me and my friends we always saw Zaza as a bit of joke and my friend went as far as reference him to the character Hugo from the video game series Street Fighter. Well as Hawkdawgs mentioned, there was a point in the KG altercation in the 2008 playoffs where I realized where he stopped being a joke and became a rallying point at that instance for the city. To myself and other fans, he wasn't just backing down from that challenge as a player but also not backing down as the often disrespected city of Atlanta. It blew my mind to see a player represent not just himself, but also his team with such passion. So you can guys also imagine that when driving around the city with a friend from out of town, I would always go out of my way to show his restaurant and say "yeah, that player stood up and punked KG in the 08 playoffs? Yeah this is his restaurant."
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I will always remember these two players and their impact on not just me but other fans. I will always remember these two as representing the city I love on and off the court. I also feel that just like July 2nd 2012, July 6th 2013 needs to be a day of remembrance.
So readers, instead of going back and reflecting on our favorite moments from these two players careers I will tell you a moment and I wish to know where you were at when it happened.
The KG Confrontation 2008 playoffs: In my dorm room in Hampton Virginia screaming at the TV with a friend in the room who knew nothing about Hawks basketball. (he bet me $20 the Hawks would get swept)
Also, the Josh Smith putback dunk game winner against the magic: Driving home from work and almost swerved off the road listening to Holman scream "DUNK FOLLOW JOSH SMITH!!!"