Hawks great Lou Hudson dies

Lou Hudson died Friday after suffering a severe stroke that left the Hawks great in grave condition. He was 69.

Hudson suffered the stroke two weeks ago and was taken to an Atlanta hospital.

Hudson is one of three Hawks to have his number retired. His No. 23 is joined by Bob Pettit’s No. 9 and Dominique Wilkins’ No. 21.

“Lou Hudson holds a special place in the Hawks family, in the hearts of our fans and in the history of our club,” Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon said in a statement released by the Hawks. “As a fan growing up with this team, I’m fortunate to say I was able to see almost every game Sweet Lou played as a member of the Hawks. He was an integral part of successful Hawks teams for over a decade, and is deservedly recognized with the ultimate symbol of his significance to the franchise with the number 23 hanging inside Philips Arena. On behalf of the Hawks organization, I’d like to extend condolences to Lou’s family and friends.”

Hudson also suffered a stroke in February 2005 while living in Utah.

Hudson, known as “Sweet Lou,” was drafted by the St. Louis Hawks in the first round (No. 4 overall) of the 1966 draft. He played 11 of his 13 NBA season for the Hawks. He was a six-time All-Star, being honored in consecutive seasons from 1967-86 to 1973-74. He spent his last two seasons with the Lakers. The 6-foot-5 guard/forward played 890 NBA games and averaged 20.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists.

Hudson, from North Carolina, also had his No. 14 retired by the University of Minnesota following his collegiate career.

Hudson, who spent time as a Hawks radio broadcaster in the 1980s, was a 2002 inductee into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.

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