The Atlanta Hawks plan to honor outgoing Mayor Kasim Reed by retiring a jersey in his honor.
The Hawks said Thursday it will retire a jersey, No. 59 in honor of Reed being the city’s 59th mayor, during the Hawks’ Nov. 3 matchup with the Houston Rockets.
The honor is one typically reserved for a retiring player, coach or owner. Reed, however, has been deeply involved with the organization throughout his tenure.
Most recently, Reed led months-long negotiations with the team for $192.5 million deal with the team – including $142 million in taxpayer dollars – to overhaul Philips Arena.
The deal also extended the team’s lease at the arena through 2046.
“This is not a political statement,” Hawks CEO Steve Koonin said. “This is about recognizing a man who has done so much for our community.”
Koonin called Reed a trusted partner not only during arena negotiations but also as the team and its partners forge their plans for downtown redevelopment around Philips Arena.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported the Hawks and partners, including CIM Group, the firm co-founded by the brother of Hawks principal owner Tony Ressler, are in the processes of negotiating with downtown property owners for land including property in the Gulch. CIM Group also acquired the former Norfolk Southern office buildings in south downtown.
The Hawks also partnered with the Reed administration when the team agreed to build or renovate four courts in Hawks’ livery at city of Atlanta parks and recreation centers.
Reed also was deeply involved in the process to keep the team in Atlanta following a controversy with the prior ownership group that led the team being sold to Ressler’s group in 2015.
Koonin said Reed will be honored during halftime of the game by Hawks Vice Chairman Grant Hill. The jersey will be displayed in a planned “community area” within the arena that will highlight the team’s Atlanta history and service in the city.
“Sometimes you have to say thank you for great contributions,” Koonin said.
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