Atlanta, GA — A new level of enthusiasm and excitement filled the air at the Hawks Media Day. Many were saying this kind of energy hasn’t been around the program in a long time. Veteran staff reported it was one of the best attended events in years, and there is plenty of reason to talk about why something special could be brewing in the ATL.
The biggest news of the day didn’t revolved around the budding new breakthrough talent and rising starts on the roster in Trae Young and John Collins. Nor did it concern the four players: Ray Spalding, Marcus Derrickson, Armoni Brooks or Tahjere McCall who signed to Exhibit 10 deals this summer, who will compete through training camp for a spot on the roster – although there was a big buzz at Spalding’s table.
Even the dynamic duo of A10 talent and toughness in DeAndre’ Bembre and Charlie Brown, Jr, along with the ACC trio of De’Andre Hunter, Jabari Parker and Cam Reddish eventually all came back to one topic, centering on the legend in the building. No, not Dominque Wilkins, though he still looks like he could take anyone on the court!
The first player paraded into the practice facility was Vince Carter, who is in the final year of his illustrious record-breaking 22nd seasons in NBA. With his million dollar smile and swag, he remains refreshingly humble in this day and age of selfies.
The first pictures taken were of him and the rising stars among the Hawks, but he was happy to step aside when they asked for “the young guys” to stay. Clearly those young guys know what’s important to this roster, as they then happily stepped aside when the interviews began: it was like the parting of the Red Sea. Only one player was introduced in the first segment, and all the others faded into the background, as Carter made his way to the podium.
Both players and coaches alike seemed honored to step aside and let Vince take his time, enjoying his final Media Day, soaking in every picture and each question as they came. He spoke of the days when he was 21, like Trae Young now, and going back home to Daytona to play pick up in the gyms near Mainland High School.
Only now the gym at Mainland is named the Vince Carter Athletic Center, this same school where his mom used to teach. Yes, nostalgia filled the air, but Mr. Nostalgia, Vince Carter himself, said one of the main reasons he chose the Hawks was because he felt wanted.
Based the on the level of respect coming from this fresh new talent in Atlanta? It appears it’s not just a feeling coming from the front office.
Something special is brewing between these rising stars and their mentor. Time will tell.