ATLANTA — Dec. 8, 2018. It was the biggest day for a Georgia sports fan since, well uh... Dec. 1, 2018.
Four hours away from the metro area, Valdosta State was playing for another trip to the D2 National Championship, Atlanta United was playing for the MLS Cup, and most importantly, the Hawks were hosting the Denver Nuggets.
Over 70,000 fans paraded through cold and rainy weather into Mercedes-Benz Stadium while State Farm was empty as it has been all season during pregame shootaround.
Eventually, more faces showed up in the crowd, as John Collins, Vince Carter, DeAndre Bembry, Tyler Dorsey, Kevin Huerter and Alex Len led the Hawks to a rousing second-half comeback to take the lead.
Kyler Murray also won the Heisman during the comeback, which was probably good news for Trae Young.
The Farm showed updates of the United game during timeouts that received applause from the next door neighbors, who were getting pretty loud for the Hawks as well at this point after Vince Carter dunked.
Meanwhile, MLS MVP and the city legend that is Josef Martinez was subbed out of the United Game with about 4 minutes remaining for the Hawks’ sixth victory of the year. Hawks fans prayed to be saved from Atlanta traffic, as they headed for the exits in masses after Collins hit a three with 1:46 left.
Then came the celebration. Lots and lots of celebration, and a guy who toasted with my camera. Wind, rain, potential black ice, it did not matter on the night of Dec. 8, 2018, because the city was going to celebrate.