Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. was the featured speaker today at the Third Annual Art of It Luncheon at the Piedmont Park Conservancy. The event is sponsored by the W.E.B. Du Bois Society, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that is “focused on bridging the academic gap that exists between African-American students and their white and Asian peers.”
The AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter was at the event and reported the following Hawks-related highlights from Gearon’s speech.
On media coverage of Hawks’ playoff series against the Celtics
“Did you see what Al Horford did last night? The timeline for recovery for his injury is another three months. He’s not even supposed to be playing and Josh [Smith] should not be playing. Zaza [Pachulia] can’t stand up, but if we can get past this round there is a chance that we can get him back. So this is a team that is overcoming adversity. I wish . . . some of the national media or even some of the local media, more the paper than the TV guys, recognize how hard these guys are playing based on how injured they are.
“On top of all that, we don’t get any calls, which I know everybody always hears. But I’ll give you a stat. Last night, we are playing this old physical team. They are old. I know what happens when you play basketball, old guys foul. [Kevin] Garnett is the dirtiest guy in the league. We are playing Boston last night and they had two fouls the whole first half. We had five times that and we’re athletic.”
On the Hawks’ injuries
“Derrick Rose goes down and the No. 1 seed is playing the No. 8 seed and everybody is like, ‘Chicago is down 3-1, that’s what you should expect with Derrick Rose down.’ Well, we’ve been playing these playoffs without Zaza, without Al Horford and Josh Smith should not be playing. Our center is Erick Dampier, God bless his heart, but he looks like a granddad. (laughter) He’s a great guy. It’s difficult enough to win a playoff series, but when you lose your whole frontline and nobody ever says, ‘Gee, you are out playing with guys that are hurt.’”
On Josh Smith and his Atlanta roots
“We wouldn’t be where we are without him. The tough thing for our team, I’m a lifelong Atlantian. I was born here. I lived the first 25 years of my life within two miles of where I was born. Right there near Piedmont Hospital. I moved to Cobb County back in 1994 when my Dad convinced me to buy a little house . . . . But the thing about our team, and it’s tough in every city. . . but when you look at the Atlanta Hawks and you know it’s tough.”
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