Atlanta Hawks: More to Stevenson than SpongeBob socks

DeShawn Stevenson reacts to hitting a 3-pointer during a game against the Pacers at Philips Arena in November.

DeShawn Stevenson reacts to hitting a 3-pointer during a game against the Pacers at Philips Arena in November.

Vivlamore reporting from vacation. Here is the feature story on DeShawn Stevenson that will run in the Thanksgiving Day print edition of the AJC.

DeShawn Stevenson was a sight to behold as he left a recent Hawks workout. The veteran guard walked down a near empty corridor in the bowels of Philips Arena wearing a dark hoodie and sweat pants pulled up to his knees.

How else was he going to show off his bright yellow SpongeBob socks?

A vast collection of outlandish hosiery is just a part of what makes Stevenson the most unique character on the Hawks roster. A tattoo of Abraham Lincoln on the center of his throat is part of his vast collection of body art and piercings. His on-court persona comes to life with his signature ‘goggles’ gesture following a made 3-pointer.

Stevenson knows how to enjoy the business of professional basketball.

“I like to have fun,” said the veteran, acquired by the Hawks in the Joe Johnson trade with the Nets. “You see when I’m out here playing with the guys (following practice), I’m a jokester. You have to be serious but at the same you have to bring some fun to it.”

Where to begin with what makes Stevenson tick?

The socks: Those began with a way to amuse his young daughters. The girls like to wear crazy socks and one day Stevenson donned a pair. The family enjoyment was enough. Now, no trip to the mall is complete without the purchase of a new set.

Stevenson said Anthony Morrow and rookie Mike Scott have gotten into the act because of him. They each politely decline such a notion.

“No man, I already had my funky sock deal when he came to New Jersey,” Morrow said. “He was probably doing it before me because he’s old. I’ll pay homage but I did that on my own. I started that trend with my era.”

Stevenson is still the one to top, according to at least one. Kyle Korver noted that Stevenson ‘crushes’ all such fashionistas.

DeShawn Stevenson got a tattoo of Abraham Lincoln on this neck, just part of his body art collection. PHOTOS BY CURTIS COMPTON

DeShawn Stevenson got a tattoo of Abraham Lincoln on this neck, just part of his body art collection. PHOTOS BY CURTIS COMPTON

The tattoos: That has become an addiction. Stevenson spends his summers getting inked – major body parts at a time. He said he will spend 12-13 hours in a session with his artist in Orlando getting work done on his arms, back, neck and more. The tattoo artist even makes house calls.

“They are used to me,” Stevenson said. “I spend a lot of money on tattoos.”

The Lincoln portrait was not his first choice. Stevenson let Gilbert Arenas, then a teammate with the Wizards, know his intention to get a tattoo of Martin Luther King Jr. Arenas did so first. Stevenson settled on Lincoln for “all the things he did for us.” He added a pair of 5s on each side of the image, as in a five dollar bill, to avoid confusion for admirers of the work.

“It hurt,” Stevenson said simply in describing the process of getting the tattoo in such a location.

The gesture: That has taken on several forms. Early in his career, Stevenson would place his hand over his eye after a 3-pointer. When he played for the Mavericks, where he won an NBA title, he altered the move. He now forms a circle with his thumb and index finger leaving three fingers extended. He will move the circle to his eye and after a few seconds snap it away as a salute. It caught on and continues.

The move was not always appreciated early in his career.

“Me being in the league for 13 years now, people know I’ve got gimmicks,” Stevenson said. “They tend not to feed into it but when I first started, it kind of (ticked) some guys off.”

Stevenson, who is also active on Twitter, is often referred to as 13 by his younger teammates, a reference to his number of years in the league. The 31-year-old has played for the Jazz, Magic, Wizards, Mavericks and Nets before joining the Hawks this season. His career started as the 23rd overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft by the Jazz straight out of high school.

Stevenson has become a valuable on-court presence for the Hawks. Despite his aging knees, coach Larry Drew turns to him as a defensive presence at the guard and small forward positions.

“I’ve always admired his game from afar, just the fact that he knows who he is,” Drew said. “He doesn’t come out and try to do too much. From a defensive standpoint, that is his strength and that is who he is. I like that he brings that to the table. My biggest concern was how healthy he would be and how healthy we would stay. So far, he has been really good for us.”

- Chris Vivlamore

404 comments Add your comment

ag

November 22nd, 2012
12:18 am

jgsbirds

November 21st, 2012
2:51 pm

the way i see this one going is like this:

wizards control tempo and game thru 3 quarters or so and the hawks struggle to get the lead. midway thru the fourth the hawks make a run and instead of putting a lesser opponent away early at home–this one goes down to the wire with the hawks winning by single digits. i’ve seen this game a million times with the hawks and the falcons.

i hope i’m wrong and we blow them out by halftime–but don’t count on it!

go hawks!

- dude nailed it!

ag

November 22nd, 2012
12:25 am

This game had a lot of blame to pass around. Many of the bloggers have their favorites and they have the guys they just don’t like. My observation:

Many criticize Josh and say we will never win with him. I am a big Josh fan, but, truly he really tried to lose this game for us. After pounding the ball inside all game, in the 4th quarter and in OT he continued to shoot and miss jumpers. The only thing falling were his layups. His stat sheet certainly looks better than he played late in the game.

I am a Horford fan. He missed so many easy layups and killed many assist tonight. Then he misses 9 of 10 free throws, 4 in OT! Great stat line, by the Horford haters will have a lot to chew on after that mess.

I posted to unleash JT0. JT0 took 18 shots, but only scored 14 points! Worse, AJ Price looked like CP 3, as JT0’s defense was HORRIBLE!

Ivan Johnson played so poorly that I even wanted to see Anthony Tolliver.

Rev in Tampa

November 22nd, 2012
12:39 am

ag,

Don’t forget Sweet Lou. He was the worst tonight.

Najeh Davenpoop

November 22nd, 2012
1:14 am

10 games into the season, the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks have the exact same record.

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

November 22nd, 2012
1:25 am

Good win tonight but we beat the worst team in the NBA by one point.

FIRE LD

vava74

November 22nd, 2012
6:16 am

Looks like it was a yet another typical “Hawks downgrading their effort/execution to meet the opponents standards night”

It has happened quite a lot in the past. The good thing is that we squeaked out a win :-D

I see that the “bash Josh” tribe has been very active last evening. I am sure that criticism is deserved but you gotta look at Horford’s production in the 4th quarter and in the OT before you throw a stone at Josh…

http://popcornmachine.net/cgi-bin/gameflow.cgi?date=20121121&game=WASATL

Horford: 2/8FG, 1/6FT 3 (1off) rebounds, 5 assists, 1PF

Josh: 3/8FG, 4 rebounds, 0 assists, 3 TOs, 1 blk, 4PF

Yuk… really can’t pick who was worst…

drmaryb.(""_*).

November 22nd, 2012
7:16 am

Get Off!

Yawl need to stop breathing down Josh’s back and GET OFF his sacks. Josh is the face of this franchise AND heart & soul of this team. Without Mr. Smith, The Hawks are NEVER even in this game at the end. Kyle Korver;s talents make Joe Johnson an after thought … no more ball pounding on the perimeter looks great. Kyle looks like Reggie Miller running around the floor out there.

Allow this team that I LOVE to find their own mettle and gel together. We have only seen 10 games so far. If anyone had predicted a 6-4 start to the season, I would have taken that line.

Welcome to the post – Joe Johnson Era!
Enjoy the savings!
Keep the popcorn popping!
Stop all the teeth gnashing!

Let’s Go Josh & The Hawks!

Just Joe

November 22nd, 2012
8:34 am

LD figuring some things out. Anthony Tolliver has played a total of 4 minutes in the last 3 games.

keith

November 22nd, 2012
9:31 am

Welcome back Chris…Happy Thanksgiving to you and happy thanksgiving to all fellow AJC bloggers.

glw

November 22nd, 2012
9:43 am

@ Just Joe

Yeah he finally got rid of Tolliver out of the rotation. But when Josh fouled out last night, I would considered playing him, but guess he hadnt played all night so he wouldnt risk it.

Watching LD is so frustrating, its almost like he has no clue when to ride the hot hand and what guys to go with in certain situations.

Devin Harris in the game late created problems for the offense I think. The hard part I know, is that Teague needs to be on the floor because he creates shots and get inside easily by most defenders. But also Lou, needs to be out there too. His ability to finish and get to the free throw line is important and is a better half court offensive player than Teague. Why doesnt he play both? Is it simply he is worried about the size disadvantage? I can understand if that was Kobe out there at 2 guard, but they had a rookie out there who was having a bad game. Im sure he wouldnt have hurt us that bad. He could play some offense for defense or do 2-3 mintutes with Lou and Teague together, and mix in Devin for defense. We really need both on the court, to limit the Osh jacking up jumpers.

Rev in Tampa

November 22nd, 2012
10:01 am

glw,

Normally I’d agree with you about having Lou on the floor, but he was a real liability last night. Plus it was Devin that hit the two huge free-throws at the end to tie it up. Devin had a good game last night even though he did not finish at least one fast break lay-up.

Slimjr

November 22nd, 2012
10:04 am

His delusional [Fan Club] at it again? Yawn

8-2

26-8

Slimjr

November 22nd, 2012
10:12 am

Vav74, Al’s disappearing act in 4th quarters is not an aberration…Hmmmm

ILL-Logical

November 22nd, 2012
10:31 am

I am thankful that the guys found a way to win, even if it was putrid.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING !

Slimjr

November 22nd, 2012
10:52 am

FTPB

Rim Rocker

November 22nd, 2012
8:54 am

“Horford 1 for 10 on free throws? He easily could have cost them the game. Is he related to Shaq?”

Lets see: The math says 10% [Free Throw] shooting from your AllStar. Just Brutal! I believe Shaq shot higher? Hehehe

dap01

November 22nd, 2012
11:29 am

I love the Hawks but we are a great example of average. We have to really spend our salary cap to get difference makers or we will continue with the “average” team. I do have faith in our GM.

glw

November 22nd, 2012
11:32 am

@Rev

I’m not saying in some instances you don’t have Devin out there. But LD simply goes one extreme or the other rather than mixing a little of all 3. End of NBA games are mostly iso plays and Lou is your best. As bad as he was going, I think Hawks win with Lou on the floor down the stretch because it limits Osh long range shooting at the end of games.

glw

November 22nd, 2012
11:35 am

Meant to say win in regulation with Lou. obviously they won in spite of LD and his bizarro substitution patterns

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

November 22nd, 2012
11:57 am

Korver is probably having a blast.

Contract year, he is starting, good minutes, and playing well.

I hope he stays with us in future years.

Happy Thanksgiving

NORRIS CHUCK

November 22nd, 2012
12:22 pm

NORRIS CHUCK

November 22nd, 2012
12:18 pm
Didnt they get out rebounded like 58-37? I wonder why. This team is really thin on the front court.

They need to make a trade really soon. For example look at the Warriors they are loaded in the front court with:

SF Barnes, R. Jefferson, Bazemore
PF David Lee, Carl Landry, Draymond Green
C Festus Ezeli, Andrus Biedrins, Andrew Bogut

Cleary they can make a move if not with this team, there is a team out there.

The Monger

November 22nd, 2012
1:17 pm

At the beginning of the season, I really liked the Hawks roster. I think Ferry made every move correctly when assembling this roster. I just thought ultimately our defense would be our undoing. However, after the first 10 games our defense has played surprisingly well, but its the offense that is not performing up to standards. We just have too many guys not performing up to their capabilities right now….Josh is shooting only .427 from the field, Lou is .398, Devin Harris is .392, not to mention Al’s FT percentage is 50 percent and Josh is at 40 percent. Too many guys have not gelled in this offense. I will say guys like Korver and Ivan have truly blossomed in this offense, and I hope the rest will be on the same page soon. Once Lou, Devin, and Josh start heating up, and IF we can continue to play this type of defense, I can see a 3 or 4 seed going into the playoffs, just as I predicted before the season started.

The Monger

November 22nd, 2012
1:22 pm

Also, BIG shoutout to Ivan Johnson, who I think can become a solid double-double option if just given more minutes. He showed signs as a rookie last year, but finally after a year in the league he is really starting to blossom. So far this year he is averaging 5.4 points and 3 rebounds in only 11.9 minutes a game. That averages out to 16.3 points and 9.1 rebounds per 36 minutes. I would take that from my power forward any day of the week. I think he is only going to get better.

Secondly, BIG props to Korver as well. Dude is hitting big shot after big shot. I praised this move more than most, and I am happy he is proving me right. He’s no Reggie Miller, but I will take 43 percent from 3 point range any day of the week. Joe, in his last few years here never even sniffed 40 percent from 3.

Najeh Davenpoop

November 22nd, 2012
1:38 pm

2 FOR JOHN DREW

November 22nd, 2012
1:53 pm

Someone made a suggestion on PEACHTREE HOOPS that when the HAWKS play the Lakers on Wed. March 13, 2013 ….. We should let D12 know how we the hawks fans, the ATL , want him here…. by chanting ….. ” DWIGHT COME HOME ” ….. I’ll be there ….. What do y’ll feel about the idea

Grandad

November 22nd, 2012
3:50 pm

2 FOR JOHN DREW

I highly respect you as a poster / blogger;
but on the DHoward idea,
`tis just fine for those who wish for him to come back.

Myself; I`ll leave the recruitment to DFerry;
if and only if he chooses to make Howard a priority.

My thinking remains the same:
DH is a narcissistic stat stuffer who has less impact
on today`s game than five yrs ago.
His health remains a question and his “act”
just ain`t worth the $ nor the bother.

2 for JD …
if he`s your guy though, I support your idea.

Runner-

November 22nd, 2012
3:57 pm

Probably the most exciting Hawks team in a while, I hope the good basketball continues, this team definitely has a chance of finishing in the top half of the Eastern Conference this season. As long as Smoove calms down on his midrange shots and Korver stays hot, we’re good to go.

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

November 22nd, 2012
5:46 pm

BIG IVAN FOR PRESIDENT

jgsbirds

November 22nd, 2012
6:42 pm

ok lets see if i can make this two in a row:

hawks play lousy all night tomorrow night and fall to the bobcats 90-75! again i hope i’m wrong but until recently they haven’t faired too well at charlotte.

go hawks!

Buddy Grizzard

November 22nd, 2012
6:55 pm

“obviously they won in spite of LD and his bizarro substitution patterns”

For once I have to agree with Najeh. I don’t have a problem with LD’s coaching in this game. He stayed with Teague in spite of his non-existent defense on AJ Price because the Hawks were outscored by 19 with Lou Williams on the floor. He went to Devin, who had one of his better games as a Hawk, down the stretch and left Lou on the bench. He also didn’t play Ivan again after the Hawks were outscored by 13 points in only 6 minutes of Ivan on the court.

It’s not LD’s fault that Horford missed 9 free throws and Teague allowed dribble penetration on every possession that AJ Price brought the ball down court.

keith

November 22nd, 2012
10:02 pm

Any word on who will be starting Friday against the Bobcats? I sincerely hope he starts a Big line-up.

PG-Teague
SG-Korver
SF-Josh
PF-Horford
C-Zsa Zsa

JaeEvolution

November 22nd, 2012
10:13 pm

We should really look to Denver as a team we could trade with to start building toward next year. They have their two big men in McGee and Koufos and aren’t looking to add anymore salary with Lawson and McGee contracts kicking in and Iggy’s extension coming up in the near future.

We could send Zaza and Stevenson over to Denver and get back J. Hamilton and Mozgov. Hamilton has shown to be a pure scorer and a decent rebounder in limited minutes (3 RPG in 12 MPG) and Mozgov is just kind of sitting there with George Karl playing favorites. They are also thin at SG position and 3 PT shooting and Stevenson could come in and help that along with Zaza being another big body in case McGee/Koufos goes down. Mozgov is also up for a contract extension and I know they don’t want to pay a guy who they can’t find minutes for.

Bottom line they get two expiring contracts to help ease their ever growing cap and two guys who can help push them farther in the playoffs for this season. We get Hamilton who can come in and start at SF or come off the bench as a pure scorer, along with Mozgov a big body 7 footer who rebounds, blocks shots and can run the floor and use him moving forward in the future.

Buddy Grizzard

November 22nd, 2012
11:26 pm

“Stevenson could come in and help that…”

Stevenson does have a positive aggregate +/- for the season, indicating that his defense does make up for his lack of offensive production. However, they’re resting him on back-to-backs. This guy’s career is just about done. He’s not helping the Hawks stop the opposing small forward from having a season-best night every game. Stevenson is a stop-gap for the Hawks at small forward and was statistically one of the 50 or so worst players to play in an NBA game last season. I doubt anyone sees him as a solution to anything.

keith

November 22nd, 2012
11:48 pm

We have a solid foundation right now, minus Josh Smith. We must move Josh Smith while his stats are trending upward….Josh Smith should net us a solid veteran and a 1st round pick(not-lottery protected).

JaeEvolution

November 23rd, 2012
12:12 am

If he is a stop-gap for us why can’t he be a stop-gap for Denver to spell Iggy for a few minutes at the SG position. The majority of their team is athletic slashers and they desperately need some perimeter shooting which Stevenson gives to go along with his competent D. Also he doesn’t need to lock-up the opposing SF they have great defenders already in Iggy, Brewer and Chandler when healthy.

The trade mostly benefits them from a salary standpoint as they can’t afford to match both Mozgov’s contract this year and then re-sign Iggy next year without suffering harsh tax and they aren’t a market that can do that.

I might’ve substituted Morrow or Jenkins into the trade, but Morrow puts too much salary on Denver’s side and I don’t think I’d want to trade away Jenkins before seeing what he could do just yet although I wouldn’t be absolutely opposed to it.

keith

November 23rd, 2012
12:13 am

I would not be surprised to see Danny Ferry trade Al Horford either. I am not sure that his play warrants his $12mill/per yr salary? I would rather have 2 good players at $6million each that will give you the same production.

doc

November 23rd, 2012
12:45 am

pretty funny, followed last nights game on yahoo sports and i swear they reported that the hawks lost. it wasnt until now i had the opportunity to get to the ajc to find out they had actually won. figured there would have been folks committing suicide or duking it out on who played worse josh or al by now, if in fact they had lost to the wiz. glad to see folks still standing.

Buddy Grizzard

November 23rd, 2012
4:14 am

“I am not sure that his play warrants his $12mill/per yr salary?”

Al Horford was ranked #30 this year in NBA Rank. Here are the salaries for players 31-40 rounded to the nearest million:

31. Josh Smith $13m

32. Rudy Gay $16m

33. Joe Johnson $20m

34. Zach Randolph $17m

35. Roy Hibbert $14m

36. Joakim Noah $11m

37. Luol Deng $13m

38. Eric Gordon $14m

39. Danny Granger $13m

40. Stephen Curry $4m

http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/8398070/2012-nba-player-rankings-31-40

As you can see, Horford’s contract is a bargain compared to the 10 players ranked after him except Joakim Noah and Steph Curry, who will make over $10m a year starting next year when his extension kicks in. This is known as the Stephen Curry Discount since he would have made more on his extension if not for his injury history.

Plainly, obviously, Al Horford has one of the most reasonable contracts in the NBA.

Buddy Grizzard

November 23rd, 2012
4:17 am

LOL doc… not exactly suicidal over the result, but not quite happy either:

http://repatl.blogspot.com/2012/11/hawks-barely-escape-wizards.html

ag

November 23rd, 2012
6:20 am

Overall bad game by many Hawks. They will play to the level of their competition. JT0 needs to step up because K Walker is having a really good year. Still waiting for breakout game for him. This is a very big game for the Hawks because the Bobcats are playing well.

vava74

November 23rd, 2012
6:24 am

Buddy,

I respect your opinion, in general, but you frequently rely on rankings that basically worthless.

Those rankings are nothing more than “interest raising” pieces to get more hits and generate more $$ for the ESPN site.

PER is also completely unreliable and to bring back last year’s production by DeShawn to talk about his current value is NOT an acceptable argument.

DeShawn’s production, so far, has been decent. He is shooting reasonably well from 3point land*, he is providing decent and disciplined D at SG and SF (although at SF is struggling more) and he is not committing TO’s and finally, he is in general showing an excellent attitude which may rub on the other guys.

* and actually hitting those shots when they matter most.

I am sure that if you dangle him on a trade offer, there will be takers for his services.

Just Joe

November 23rd, 2012
6:57 am

82games suggests that Stevenson is defending both the SG and SF position at an avg clip. He doesn’t appear to be a problem unless LD goes back to playing him 25+ minutes a night.

That site also shows that Kyle Korver is a beast at SG, but is somewhat of a wash at SF. It favors the Teague, Korver, Smith, Horford, Pachulia lineup because of its emphasis on rebounding, and that group grabs over 55% of all potential rebounds (which is really good). Memphis’s starting 5 grabs 53%. Lakers are 51%. Knicks and Clippers are under 50%. IMO though, for this group to work, Teague would have to turn in to a 20-pt scorer, and we’d need to address the second unit, which would be very small.

One disclosure on the rebounds, Hawks haven’t been on the floor together nearly as much as other teams. Our 5-man unit has been together less than a third of the time that Memphis’s has been on the floor together. Sample size could definitely be a factor.

vava74

November 23rd, 2012
8:13 am

Just Joe,

Our line up and rotation should be the following (thus addressing the rebounding issue and not placing Josh where he can’t succeed):

Teague – KK – D.James – Josh – Horford
Harris – Lou/Morr/DeS – KK/Morr/DeS – Ivan – Zaza

vava74

November 23rd, 2012
8:17 am

That would allow to use DeShawn sparingly, keeping him fresh and ready to deployed only when strictly needed.

Morrow would provide minutes and fire power at SG and SF depending on need if KK and/or Lou were cold.

Lou should NEVER play PG.
Josh should NEVER play SF.
Horford should SELDOM play PF.

Damion James would provide the hustle and the rebounding that we need to start games and set the tone.

No specific need for him to log 30+. On or around 20/24 mpg depending on production should be enough.

ag

November 23rd, 2012
8:36 am

vava74, D. James is not on the team

Buddy Grizzard

November 23rd, 2012
9:51 am

Vava, Al is CLEARLY a better player than half the players I listed. NBA rank is a collection of opinions. There’s mine. What’s yours? Are you trying to say Horford is not a top 40 player in the NBA and thus not worth his salary?

ag

November 23rd, 2012
9:52 am

My only concern with the big lineup, we have no backup. Now, I think a lineup with E. Curry, Horford, Josh, Korver, and Teague is really good. In preseason, Curry did look good.

Sam

November 23rd, 2012
10:26 am

ag, vava74 is another of the psycho Hawk fans who wishes James was on the team.

We need one more big and a SF and we’re in business.

doc

November 23rd, 2012
10:32 am

buddy concur.

I was struggled this year so Josh free-throw line 1 Hawks can’t believe how difficult Klusman for them to stabilize themselves post challenge L’orchestre Congress. Now you wouldn’t is having similar problems getting into the living condition please. If these three players poker game something along season hawks.

well i tried to up my game on the last paragraph with periods, commas and caps by sirir transcription and this is what i got. back to the tech drawing board as it doesnt print while you talk making it more challenging.

al and josh cannot struggle at the foul line and lou cant struggle to get into the lane and finish ir it will be a long season. those three guys have to be perfect in their roles.

ag

November 23rd, 2012
10:57 am

I guess my last post should have included we should pick up E. Curry. I also like James, and if he were on the team, I would want him to start.

ag

November 23rd, 2012
10:57 am

I guess my last post should have included we should pick up E. Curry. I also like James, and if he were on the team, I would want him to start.