Hawks organization sends letter to thank fans

Hawks’ True Believer shirts cover the areana seats for fans for Game 3 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Cavaliers at Philips Arena on Friday, May 6, 2016, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

Hawks’ True Believer shirts cover the areana seats for fans for Game 3 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Cavaliers at Philips Arena on Friday, May 6, 2016, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

The Hawks sent the following letter, from Steve Koonin, Mike Budenholzer and Wes Wilcox, to those on the team’s email list:

True Believers,

Basketball has long been described as a beautiful, athletic and powerful team game.

In Atlanta, we know it’s more than just a game though. Hawks Basketball has shown the ability to unite and rally a city. It’s a part of the emotional, connective tissue that makes our city thrive.

We are so fortunate to have passionate fans that live and die with each make and miss. They come out every night in their Torch Red and Volt Green. They bring all of their friends to games. They can’t wait to show their kids - the next generation of Hawks basketball fans – the beauty of the game and what a good Hawks fan looks like.

Thank you for believing in us.

Prior to this season, we introduced a dynamic new ownership team led by Tony Ressler and Grant Hill, who have provided the vision and resources for the Hawks to truly be great. They know this is Atlanta’s team and are committed to ensuring that our franchise is a true community asset and deserving of this ever-expanding global city. We followed that by unveiling the boldest uniforms in professional sports with new vibrant new colors such as Volt Green, Torch Red and Georgia Granite Gray.

Those were just the firsts of many memorable moments this season:

• We honored our rich history by retiring the number of one of the greatest defensive players in NBA and franchise history, Dikembe Mutombo.

• We continued to build bridges through basketball to the community, opening four new basketball courts in underserved areas throughout Atlanta.

• We celebrated diversity and inclusion through meaningful dialogue at our inaugural MOSAIC event, which attracted thought leaders in diversity and sports.

• We rocked Philips Arena with our in-game environment, and thrilled you from start to finish with chart-topping artists such as T.I., Jeezy and Cee-Lo Green sharing center stage at our games throughout the season.

• We took a commanding 3-2 lead in front of a raucous Philips Arena crowd on our way to defeating the Boston Celtics for the first time in Atlanta postseason franchise history.

We won together and we lost together. We rejoiced after a playoff series victory and agonized after a playoff series defeat. Those moments - good and bad - motivate us. We hold ourselves to a high standard and we realize that we didn’t achieve our ultimate goal this season. It drives us to work that much harder to make this great city proud and to continue methodically building on the strong foundation of our team and culture.

We’re proud that we’ve been able to win 108 games over the past two seasons, the most-ever over a two-year period in franchise history. Our franchise has also won 12 intense playoff games over the past two postseasons, the most any Hawks team has in nearly 50 years. But there’s still so much more to do, and we plan to do it united as an organization and city.

There are many exciting events to help us get to our ultimate goal as we look ahead both on and off the court. Next month, along with our partners at Emory Healthcare, we anticipate breaking ground on a world-class training facility and sports medicine center that will help us train, retain and attract the best athletes in the world. Our goal is to make Atlanta a destination for sports medicine, athletic care and high-performance athletes.

We will enter June’s NBA Draft with multiple picks and proceed to free agency with financial flexibility, as we look to build on our team’s already strong foundation.

In the community, we will construct or refurbish five more courts during the upcoming season as well as provide scholarships to our basketball camps. We will also create even more special opportunities to meet and engage with our players.

Thank you, once again, for being true to the Hawks this season and we look forward to continuing to be True to Atlanta.

Steve Koonin

Chief Executive Officer

Mike Budenholzer

President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach

Wes Wilcox

General Manager