Atlanta continues to be one of the top cities in the nation for music and entertainment. But as the surging Atlanta Hawks prepare for a run at the NBA title, the city is now being recognized as a basketball town.
The Hawks recently merged sports and hip-hop by enlisting Atlanta rapper 2 Chainz to serve as honorary CEO. On a night when the Hawks decimated the Heat 99-86, 2 Chainz provided an equal amount of entertainment by performing three times during the evening.
But beyond the festive moments of 2 Chainz serving as substitute CEO, beating Dominique Wilkins in a game of HORSE, and having his official Hawks jersey on sale at the team’s store, there was a bigger meaning to the night.
The Hawks, 2 Chainz, and the city of Atlanta have more in common than a fun night of music and sports. When taking a deeper look, they are all underdogs who have found ways to do the impossible.
In 2007, 2 Chainz was known as Tity Boi and one half of the group, Playaz Circle. The duo was signed to Ludacris’ DTP record label, but they weren’t much of a priority. When their debut album, Supply & Demand was released, it only sold a little over 26,000 copies at a time when hip-hop records were still reaching platinum status on a regular basis.
That same year, the woeful Atlanta Hawks only won 30 games out of 82 and were one of the forgotten teams in the NBA.
Fast-forward to 2015 and the Hawks and 2 Chainz are at the top of their respective games. 2 Chainz made his resurgence in music after breaking away from Playaz Circle and changing his name. He found ways to rebuild his brand through mixtapes and eventually became a platinum-selling artist.
The Hawks rebranded the team by hiring Mike Budenhoizer to coach and playing with a team-first concept that has allowed them to stay at the top of the NBA’s Eastern Conference.
Atlanta has found ways to become a major city in the South due to its world-class airport, an influx of Black-owned businesses and Fortune 500 companies, and its thriving entertainment industry.
So while fans at Philips Arena enjoyed a night of good music and basketball, the best takeaway from the night is that comebacks are possible and there is always room for a second act.
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Photos: LeKeith Taylor