Handing off . . .

Whenever I’m asked why I call my blog people “my blog people” I always think back to something I wrote when I started the Hawks beat for the AJC.

“I care that you care. It’s my job to give you your Hawks fix and I take that responsibility seriously, but I hope we can have some fun along the way. My aim is to be informative, entertaining, fair, interesting and, above all else, honest.”

Now that I’m (sort of) moving on my hope is that, on balance, I’ve met those goals more often than not.

I’ve moved to a new role as a general assignment sports reporter for the AJC. Chris Vivlamore is now the AJC’s Hawks beat writer. He’s a real pro and I’m sure he will do good work giving you your Hawks fix.

In my new role I will be covering all of the teams we follow at the AJC. That means you’ll still see my byline on Hawks stories and on the blog, but you’ll also see it lots of other places in the newspaper and at ajc.com.

I sincerely appreciate my blog people for giving me an audience for the past 900-odd blog posts and who-knows-how-many tweets. When fellow beat hacks disparage Atlanta fans for not supporting the Hawks, I often remind them that there is a smart and passionate group of fans who love the team and the game.

Hopefully, I’ve enhanced your ability to do both.

Michael Cunningham

106 comments Add your comment

Joe Johnson

September 24th, 2012
9:41 pm

ATL Sports Pessimist

September 24th, 2012
9:42 pm

Thanks for your work Michael


September 24th, 2012
9:42 pm

Best wishes Michael. First?


September 24th, 2012
9:44 pm

Much respect, MC. You absolutely owned this blog and the Hawks beat and we’re all appreciative of your hard work. Here’s hoping your new gig treats you well.


September 24th, 2012
9:45 pm

standing O for another hawks beat legend.

Show me state

September 24th, 2012
9:49 pm

First Sekou and now you. Two great Hawks beat writers that has now left us but good luck MC! Congrats on the promotion!


September 24th, 2012
9:54 pm

Good luck MC. Best wishes for the future. Thanks for all your reporting.

With that,

Welcome to the blog CV.


September 24th, 2012
10:07 pm

Thanks for all the timely blogs and inside the locker room information. Best wishes on your new role!


September 24th, 2012
10:08 pm

Congrads and good luck…

JSS is a Troll

September 24th, 2012
10:08 pm

Wow, it seems no matter what poor Vivamore does, he just can’t escape the insanity that is the hateful Atlanta Spirit.

Najeh Davenpoop

September 24th, 2012
10:13 pm

Peace MC. Who runs @ajchawks now, and will you have your own separate Twitter?


September 24th, 2012
10:14 pm

Job well done, sir.

MB in SC

September 24th, 2012
10:19 pm

Very much enjoyed reading your posts. Cheers


September 24th, 2012
10:29 pm

thumbs up mc!!!


September 24th, 2012
10:37 pm

I wish you well.


September 24th, 2012
10:46 pm

Sad to see you go MC. We have given you a hard time sometimes, but we give everyone a hard time, lol. And sometimes our frustration with AJC was truly created by our frustration from ASG. Thank you for your coverage.

Rev In Tampa

September 24th, 2012
10:58 pm


Thanks for going to the matresses for the blog-people regarding the Lunk-head Larry’s refusal to give Teague any meaningful playing time a couple of years back. It was classic beat-reporting.


September 24th, 2012
11:16 pm

Elvis has truly [left the building]…

As my friends South of the border would say: adios



September 24th, 2012
11:31 pm

Thanks MC. Great job. In someways I think you changed the culture around the Hawks. Sometimes just asking the right questions or reporting the insanity can change a situation. Good luck.


September 25th, 2012
12:23 am

thanks Michael for consistency with your work. I looked forward to your blogs and articles. I hope Chris brings passion to the job also.

Big Ray

September 25th, 2012
12:39 am

Good work you’ve done, Michael. Hope you enjoy your new job.


September 25th, 2012
12:46 am

MC you will be missed. i looked forward to your insightful and well researched comments. i will miss it tremendously. i dont think your shoes will be easily filled. i hope you are rewarded in your efforts.

The Truth

September 25th, 2012
1:06 am

About what I expected from you MC


I”m sure it will carry-over to your new gig.

Just keep paying attention to details and always:


Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

September 25th, 2012
2:41 am

Another one bites the dust


September 25th, 2012
4:09 am

prison mike

September 25th, 2012
4:10 am

So hold up, MC done hit the big time. I know you got an eye on Joe’s old pad. Sounds like you are covering more college stuff.

Remember one thing, The UGA Bulldawgs run this entire state, period point blank. You would be wise to get up on some of that action.


September 25th, 2012
4:58 am


Thank you for all your hard work. I think you are a good writer (simultaneously fun, consistent and incisive) and did a very good job during the season as the beat.

My gripe is that you were not consistent with your own imposed targets when the season ended. A player by player season review that ended before you reached a quarter of the roster players?

It would have been simpler if you concentrated on the players that remained on the roster and had just one blog entry for the departed.

My feeling is that somewhere earlier in the summer you were already told that you were moving on from the beat job and lost interest in finishing up what you started. I think you could have ended things with a bit more professionalism, but hey, nobody is perfect!


September 25th, 2012
6:23 am

I’m not sure about Viv taking over. The last Atlanta team he covered moved to Winnipeg.

some sense

September 25th, 2012
6:48 am


The Real Fan

September 25th, 2012
6:55 am

All the best. Maybe you will begin to include Atlanta Dream scores.
They are a pro team after all.


September 25th, 2012
7:13 am

Thanks for your work, MC! Best wishes on your new role.

Welcome, CV!

Dudley Do it Right!!

September 25th, 2012
7:30 am


Chris is a very good blogger, writer and commentator…. plus. he is much better than that ol con & ham.

Chris V is a first rate guy… kinda like Sekou.

Con & Ham Good by and good riddance! and Take Al Horfords sorry Azz with you !

Charles Barkley

September 25th, 2012
7:42 am

Michael Cunningham Got Fired!! Good Move AJC!

Now maybe we can get a center to go with Josh smith and Devin Harris putting the Hawks back in the right direction.

Can We get Al Jefferson for Al Horford in a 1 on 1 trade? Hell well even throw in Marvin Williams….

Oh wait weve already spent our Marvin chip. Well well throw in Teague. Yea, thats the ticket. Lets get rid of 2 project cases in 1 trade. Teague and Horford for Al Jefferson, right now!


September 25th, 2012
8:34 am

Best of luck MCand may Cal’s Cats always keep their edge on your team.

CV, welcome and get ready for an interactive season for what we need to build a ‘legit’ contender this time. There is a small opportunity now to make things right.

MO Bravesfan

September 25th, 2012
8:37 am

You did a great job. Thanks.

Slap Dog Hoops

September 25th, 2012
9:02 am

best of luck to you in your new endeavor


September 25th, 2012
9:02 am


Enjoyed ya. Wish u the best at your new gig..gonna miss your nice smile..take care!!


September 25th, 2012
9:09 am

Best wishes, MC

Ken Strickland

September 25th, 2012
9:10 am

MC- You have a valued member of the Atlanta Hawks nation, and it’s truely been a please young man. I wish you Good luck and continued success as you continue moving forward.

Astro Joe

September 25th, 2012
9:12 am

MC, much success in your new role. I hope to see some feature stories on Dusty Rhodes, Abdullah the Butcher and Dirty Dick Slater. Southern Sports, baby!


September 25th, 2012
9:12 am

Best Beat writer to cover the Hawks in decades. Congrats on the new position.

Feel free to visit often.


September 25th, 2012
9:21 am

Alright CViv, let’s get to work…..what have you heard on Anthony Tolliver? Sounds like its Danny or Phoenix with a guaranteed deal.

If we bring him in, does that make it more of an assurance that Josh will not be starting at the 3? We are starting to get nimbers at the SF position. I would prefer Josh be our 4, but that means a battle between Al and Zaza.

Luv Josh Smith

September 25th, 2012
9:26 am

Say it isn’t so…… Congrats on your promotion Michael. Glad you are still on the ATL sports beat. It seems that many have shifted their hatred of all things Smoove to our All Star center. Short sighted. Here’s hoping that Ferry figures out a way to break the logjam at PF and gets a legit big man in here. I can’t wait to see this team get out and run. If the sharpshooters get the green light, the iso game is a thing of the past. It will be interesting to watch who the braintrust installs as starting 3 for this team. Go Hawks.

Just Joe

September 25th, 2012
9:52 am

I don’t want to see Tolliver with a guaranteed deal from the Hawks. The last thing I want is to give LD someone he can give minutes to that should be going to Ivan Johnson. I’d rather play Mike Scott than Tolliver.

Ferry needs to find us a 7 footer to develop. Whatever happened to the big french kid that tried to stick with Charlotte, Dallas & Toronto (I should know his name)? He would appear to be right in Ferry’s wheelhouse. 7′1″ shotblocker with 3-pt range. He didn’t have a clue on defense though. Hassan Whiteside & Soloman Alibi are a couple of other youngsters (more may shake out of various camps).

Ken Strickland

September 25th, 2012
9:56 am

JUST JOE-From the previous blog. You said you didn’t believe Benson would make the roster, then you said Petro’s $3.5M expiring contract would make him excellent trade bait at the trade deadline. However, if there’s any possibility of Petro being traded by the trade deadline, wouldn’t it make sense to have a young developing player like Benson on hand to take his place in the event he’s traded?

I believe JAnderson’s scouting report says he’s very athletic, a good defender, and an above average midrange shooter. DJames’ scouting report says he’s strong, physical, aggressive, a good wing defender, a strong finisher, and a strong physical rebounder, especially on the OFF boards. In other words he’s a BANGER, which will probably make VALVA74 drool to the point where he’ll want to start him at OC.

According to their scouting reports and rookie performances, the deciding factor for them having a strong training camp and making the roster will be their full recovery from their respective injuries, not a lack of talent or ability. If they are fully recovered and are able to produce, this will end up being a really interesting team indeed.

In Zaza, Ivan, Horford, Josh, and James, we’ll definitely have a solid inside presence. With Jenkins, Korver, and Morrow, we’ll definitely have 3 strong 3t shooters. With Harris, Teague, and Williams, we’ll have an unmatched combination of speed, quickness, athleticism, penetrating and shooting ability in our backcourt.

If James and Anderson make the roster, we might see a wing player traded or released to accomodate another Big like Benson, especially if there’s a willingness to trade Petro by the deadline. Right now, we have 15 players under contract. With Morrow, Jenkins, and their prolific 3 pt shooting on the roster, along with the added size, physical and DEF ability of James and Anderson, there’s little need for a one dimensional player like Korver, who’s also a DEF liability.

OC-Horford, Zaza, Petro
PF-Josh, Ivan, Scott
SF-James, Anderson, Korver, Stevenson
PG-Teague, Harris
SG-Jenkins, Morrow, LWilliams

Ken Strickland

September 25th, 2012
10:06 am

JUST JOE-When we drafted KBenson in the 2nd rd, we drafted a 6′11″ player with as much, if not more, overall potential than any of the players you mentioned. He has a very good short range jumper, he’s very athletic, and a good rebounder and shotblocker. He’s attributes could help him become another version of Josh as a help defender off the bench at PF, and a very good option against the less physical OCs like CBosh, JAnthony, JNoah, or DJordan.


September 25th, 2012
10:07 am


Yes, the description of Damion’s game pleases me and picking up on your poking of me:

Ivan, who is a banger who is hardly more than 6′8” (if even that big) played the C slot admirably well for us when required to do so.

A banging spirit allows smaller players to play BIG and Horford should BANG so he can overcome is lack of size.

There is no question – for me – that Horford is not skilled enough to play the PF slot at a high level, although his skill level is more than enough IF COPED WITH A BANGING SPIRIT he seems to have lost to be a very effective C.

I know that you can only see things black and white but balanced guys like Big Ray have also mentioned here in the blog that Horford needs to find his lost dog.

If you wish, you can say that I have a negative bias against Horford since I coined Diaper Al, but I am not.

Al’s performance during the 2010/11 playoffs was inexcusable and I already mentioned that I gained some HOPE (but not TRUST) that his 2011/12 showing was an indication that Al was getting back to his good ways.


September 25th, 2012
10:08 am

A few typos and missing comas, but you should get my drift. I am out!


September 25th, 2012
10:10 am


I LOVE your starting line-up!! But I seriously doubt Drew starts Jenkins. I hope he does tho

Just Joe

September 25th, 2012
10:32 am


You can throw Benson in there with those guys: Whiteside, Alibi, Ajinca (I remembered his name), maybe even Fesenko.

I’m just not sold on Benson’s rebounding ability and defensive footwork. He let a lot of layups go by in summer league, and was pretty much matched (or bested) on the boards by Mike Scott.