Atlanta Hawks: Retiring Jersey for Mayor Kasim Reed Should They Be?

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 15: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed attends 'Hidden Figures' Private Dinner with STEM Leaders at Livingston Restaurant
ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 15: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed attends 'Hidden Figures' Private Dinner with STEM Leaders at Livingston Restaurant /

The Atlanta Hawks announced that they will be retiring a jersey on November 3rd in honor of outgoing Mayor Kasim Reed, who has done a lot for the Hawks, but may not be worthy of this honor.

The Atlanta Hawks retiring Mayor Kasim Reed’s jersey is a nice gesture, one that is deserving if you consider only what he has done for the Hawks. He helped broker a deal that will keep the Hawks in Atlanta at least until their contract expires in 2046.

Many sports fans might be quick to point out, however, that this is the same mayor that allowed both the Braves and the Atlanta Thrashers to leave the city.   While the Braves may not have gone far the Thrashers moved out of Georgia all together and Mayor Reed seemed to do little to keep them around.

To be clear, this is not about politics rather a look at what Mayor Reed has done for Atlanta sports and whether or not he is deserving of having a jersey retired in his honor.

In a city which seemed to care very little about hockey, letting the Thrashers head to Winnipeg may not have been bad for Atlanta in some ways. It turned more focus on the teams that Atlanta did  keep. Namely the Falcons and Braves who have both been largely inconsistent during his time as mayor.

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Not long after the Thrashers left  Mayor Reed allowed the Braves to move to the suburbs of Cobb County.  It was another big strike for sports fans against the Mayor. They are the Atlanta Braves after all, the Mayor cited cost issues with keeping the team. There is no questioning the fact that the Braves have had a more consistent fan base than the Hawks over the last decade in Atlanta. Simply by looking at the popularity of the respective sports in Atlanta.

Yet when it came to keeping the Hawks the Mayor seemed to have little problem shelling out $142 million taxpayer dollars to overhaul and keep the Hawks in Phillips Arena. While it may sting for Braves fans it is important to keep it in perspective that it is $300 million dollars less than the Braves were expecting to stay in downtown Atlanta.

Mayor Reed helped put together a deal that has the Hawk’s lease not expiring until 2046. Keeping that in mind along with the fact that he had a big hand in $142 million dollar tax payer funded renovations the Hawks owe Mayor Reed thanks.

Retiring Mayor Reed’s jersey may not be a popular move for Thrashers or Braves’ fans, but it is the right move for a team that he has helped stay in Atlanta for a long time to come. Whether or not he made the right decision, not fighting harder to keep both teams in the city is a different discussion.

Mayor Reed has helped both the Hawks and their fans keep them in the same place in a better arena. Because of that he is deserving of having a Hawk’s jersey retired an honor that few people aside from players or coaches receive.

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The Hawks will retire number 59 since Kasim Reed was the 59th mayor. The ceremony will take place on November 3rd when the Hawks take on James Harden and the Rockets.