Back in the Mike Woodson era, the Atlanta Hawks had young, bouncy athletes, led by Josh Smith, blazing up and down the floor in transition. In celebration of the athletic feats, Philips Arena was given the apt nickname of "The Highlight Factory." With Al Horford leaving for Boston (moment of silence), so leaves the last member of "The Highlight Factory."
Since the Mike Budenholzer became the steward of Atlanta’s ship, Philips Arenas’ nickname has been used less and less. Philips Arena needs a new moniker to reflect both the Spurs-ian system and/or the Hawks commitment to the city and community of Atlanta.
Let’s throw some nickname ideas on the wall and hope one sticks.
"The Waffle House of Basketball"
Waffle House is more a temple of culinary worship than house of fast food here in Atlanta. Very few things are more representative of Atlanta than chowing down on an All Star breakfast served literally at any time every day, while surrounded by a hodgepodge of people resembling any person you could imagine running into on Ponce De Leon Ave. Not only does this nickname involve a vital part of Atlanta culture, Philips Arena would have an immediate sponsorship partner. Atlanta’s native son, and new Hawk, Dwight Howard on your television imploring you to visit Philips Arena by dunking with that signature paper hat would be catnip to Atlantans. What is more "True to Atlanta" than Waffle House? Go ahead and think. I’ll wait.
Every Hawk needs a nest to call home. This nickname is clear, concise, and scientifically accurate. "The Nest" invokes a sense of home while being distinctly Hawks as only one of two teams with a bird mascot. The Pelicans can enjoy their smoothies in New Orleans (if you pick Smoothie King over Waffle House, then our friendship must cease). The Hornets up in Charlotte have "The Hive", so let’s defend our own home floor similarly. Harry the Hawk needs his own nest, and who are we as fans to deny him that right?
"Hotlanta" will forever be a moniker used with this city. However, it does not work as the nickname for an indoor, air conditioned basketball arena. Instead, let’s twist it just enough for basketball fans around the country to recognize where hoopers in the ATL call home. Does it air on the cheesy side? Possibly, but try integrating "Hooplanta" into normal day conversation. This nickname sounds more fun each time it is uttered.
Honorable mention: "Hawklanta" "The Birdcage" "Southern House-pitality"
It is time bury "The Highlight Factory" once and for all. We are thankful for its service to Atlanta and the Hawks, but a new nickname is needed. Philips Arena deserves something new and fresh that reflects its altered roster, embraces Coach Bud’s regime, and represents Atlanta and the community.