If you are a lifelong Hawks fan, you know they don’t get much love from the national media. Atlanta produced ten consecutive years of playoff basketball and received minimal attention from people outside of the city. Maybe that is why I became so attached to these Hawks teams throughout the years, always feeling like the underdog.
Unfortunately, in a superstar driven league, the primary reason for the non-existent national media attention was their lack of a big-name star. They had All-Stars like Al Horford and Paul Millsap; they even had four of them in the same year during the memorable 2014-2015 campaign. But they never acquired an attention-getter like Russell Westbrook or Kyrie Irving. However, following their recent moves, the Hawks are receiving some love league-wide for what they are doing in this rebuild nowadays – despite winning 29 games last season. But the thing that has triggered me in recent years is the blatant disrespect Team USA has shown towards Hawks players when compiling the roster.
Remember back in 2014 when Paul Millsap and Kyle Korver got sent to FIBA camp? Korver not making the roster was understandable, given Klay Thompson, James Harden, and Demar DeRozan were already on it. But Millsap getting snubbed for the likes of Mason Plumlee was absolutely criminal. I guess Coach K likes to play favorites. Millsap, now a Denver Nugget, opted not to go forward with his invitation for the 2019 Cup.
I like that Team USA is doing the Select Team, and it is fantastic that Trae Young and John Collins were recognized in some capacity. But Mason Plumlee and Thaddeus Young over John Collins? Even Marvin Bagley? Come on, man. Marcus Smart over Trae Young? Or De’Aaron Fox? These events are about winning, right? The select Team is great, but why not let the best players compete instead of making it about age?
In fairness, they did add Lloyd Pierce as an assistant on the coaching staff. Team USA and the league are noticing what the Hawks are doing. But I will keep holding a grudge, even without Coach K there, until the Hawks have a deserving player on the actual roster.
Hopefully, soon enough Team USA will put some respect on the Hawks’ name.