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Jesse Itzler is an interesting character. As a younger man, he bluffed his way into a record contract and released an album as the rapper Jesse Jaymes. His album reached 74 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1991 and he ended up performing on MTV’s Spring Break with a video in rotation while playing shows and making friends with industry heavyweights such as RUN DMC.

Itzler later used those connections to help him found Marquis Jet, a company that sells ticket cards for private jets to individuals who want access to the convenience and luxury of a private jet without the expense of partnering to own and maintain a jet. When an initial meeting was unsuccessful, Itzler brought his friends from the music industry to a second meeting to convince the owner of a fleet of private jets that there was a market for the service Itzler was proposing.

After years sharing a tiny one-bedroom apartment in New York and rapping about a lifestyle he hadn’t yet obtained, Itzler made it. He would later marry another self-made entrepreneur, Sara Blakely, who founded the billion dollar Spanx shapewear empire from her Atlanta apartment. Together, the couple joined principal owners Tony Ressler and wife Jami Gertz to buy the Atlanta Hawks over the summer.

But even with all of the success, Itzler continues to make a habit of making interesting friends, pushing limits and breaking down barriers. When Itzler, an ultra marathoner, saw a Navy SEAL running a 24 hour team marathon BY HIMSELF, Itzler did what he does: he got the SEAL’s phone number and made friends. Continue Reading…

In their first of four meetings with this season the Hawks defeated the Charlotte Hornets 97-94 without the services of Kyle Korver. Atlanta fended off the Hornets late run in a game that was tied on seven occasions along with 17 lead changes. Kent Bazemore may not be the sharpshooter Kyle is, but looked pretty close shooting 4-for-5 from 3-point land tying his career high in field goals made. Kent Finished with 19 points (seven coming in the fourth quarter) and nine rebounds. Coach Mike Budenholzer spoke about his confidence.

“You could just feel his confidence from the very beginning of the game, the way he was rising up and shooting with no hesitation. The ball was coming off his hand just really easily and nice. He got a couple of drives and finishes. The drive and the put back late, Kent on his drive forces the help which allows Paul to get the put back.”

This tough defensive matchup is something both became accustomed to last season and again tonight as they struggled to ever find a rhythm. The hornets held the hawks to just 42% from the field and six turnovers in the first half. In the second half the Hawks turned up the pressure in their rotations ,particularly in the third quarter, forcing seven turnovers leading to 10 points and a seven point lead heading into the fourth.

Dennis Schröder got an early Christmas wish and was inserted in the lineup alongside Jeff Teague for the first time in their careers. Schröder and Teague combined to score 28 points along with six assist and showing great effort defensively forcing Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lin into three turnovers apiece. Many probably wondered how their styles would mesh offensively, but Coach Bud was more focused on the other side of the floor.

“The key is if we can guard and we can get stops on the other end and we can rebound on the other end, then I think offensively we won’t have too much trouble. For more of the game I thought our defense was pretty good, and that included when Jeff and Dennis were in there. I think overall it was good to see them play so much together.”

Horford and Millsap always play well together and did so again tonight as Horford scored 18 points (seven in the fourth quarter) with six of those points coming from beyond the arc for the second straight game and a RPM of +12. Paul Millsap posted his second double of the season with 19 points, 10 rebounds and also showed his range going 2-for-4 from three.

These two teams have a quick turn around and meet each other again Sunday in Charlotte, tip off at 2:00pm


The Atlanta Hawks defeated two Texas teams within the same week with a 100-86 win over the Spurs on Wednesday and an ugly 91-84 win over the Mavericks on Friday. Jeff Teague (ankle) and Paul Milsap both sat out this game, which thrust Dennis Schröder and Tiago Splitter into the starting lineup. Schröder finished with 11 points (nine coming in the second half) and four assist, while Splitter finished with just two points and four rebounds. Al Horford led all Hawks with 16 points, shooting 50% from the field with five rebounds and a plus-8 rating.

The Mavericks were led by former Hawk John Jenkins as he totaled 16 points while shooting 67% from the field. Both teams struggled from the field shooting 36%, and that corresponded with 11 lead changes. The Hawks’ advantage in this one was not only their 83% free throw shooting (compared to Dallas’ 76%), but also a positive showing from several bench players like: Thabo Sefolosha (nine points, 2-for-2 FGs) Mike Muscala (seven points, 3-for-6 FGs), Lamar Patterson (10 points and two steals) and Shelvin Mack (13 points and four assists).

Mack started the game 0-for-3 but heated up, hitting several jumpers in a row to help the Hawks erase a deficit. Holiday continues to struggle from the field, shooting just 1-for-6 for six points, but also continues to look sharp defensively. Rookie Justin Anderson showed to be somewhat of a bright spot for the Mavs off the bench, scoring 12 points and dishing out four assist, but he was forced into four turnovers as well. Continue Reading…

Mike Scott and his brother Antonn Imhotep Scott were arrested today in Banks County after leading police on a 98 mph chase and being found in possession of an ounce of marijuana and 10.9 grams of MDMA, also known as ecstasy, according to Fox Sports South. Mike Scott was a passenger in the 2015 Chevy Tahoe, according to police reports.

Per the Banks County Sheriff’s Office’s release: “As deputies attempts to make the traffic stop, the driver sped up to 98 mph and failed to stop for deputies. The driver continued for two miles and finally stopped near mile marker 156. … The occupants advised that they did have marijuana in the vehicle.”

The Atlanta Hawks have not yet released any statement.

In a score that flattered Atlanta, the Hawks lost 84-74 to the NBA Development League Select team in Game 3 of Las Vegas Summer League. Atlanta’s coaching staff evidently decided to take the idea of position-less basketball to a new level by starting a back court of Glenn Robinson III at shooting guard and guard/forward Lamar Patterson at point guard. When Patterson set up Edy Tavares for an alley-oop dunk in the fourth quarter, it was the first assist of Summer League for a Hawks’ starting point guard after Stephen Holt (who did not play in Game 3) failed to record an assist in the first two games.

Patterson led the Hawks with 15 points after failing to hit a shot from the field or free throw line in Game 2. He was also the Hawks’ leading scorer in Game 1, and added five rebounds, two assists and three steals in this game. Patterson scored 12 of his points in the fourth quarter as Atlanta closed the gap after trailing in the quarter by as much as 24.

Tavares had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, but has totaled 17 fouls in three Summer League games. Robinson was the only other scorer in double digits for Atlanta with 10 points and four rebounds. He had a pair of highlight dunks including a break-away 360 in the second half when D-League Select were already firmly in control. Only a 25-17 fourth quarter for the Hawks prevented this game from finishing as the blowout it was for most of regulation. Continue Reading…

The NBA Board of Governors has officially approves the sale of the Atlanta Hawks to the group led by Tony Ressler.

From the NBA’s press release:

“We are pleased that the NBA’s Board of Governors has approved the purchase of the Atlanta Hawks by principal owner Tony Ressler,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “Tony and his diverse and experienced ownership group will bring tremendous energy and passion to the Hawks and the team and its fans will greatly benefit from their commitment to the Atlanta community.”

The sale was approved unanimously by the Board of Governors. The new ownership group includes former NBA star Grant Hill, Spanx founder Sara Blakely and her husband, Jesse Itzler. The Hawks will officially introduce the group — with Ressler and Hill representing — during a media session on Thursday at 11AM.

The Hawks revealed on Monday that Paul Millsap suffered a right shoulder sprain and contusion Saturday against the Brooklyn Nets. X-rays were negative, but an MRI showed the injury to doctors. Millsap will miss at least the next two games on Tuesday against Phoenix and Wednesday at Brooklyn and will be reevaluated during that time.

Atlanta team doctors don’t expect that the injury will linger into the playoffs, which is great news for a Hawks team that relies on Millsap’s scoring and rebounding. Mike Scott has just come back from a toe injury, so Coach Budenholzer will have to be careful to not play him too many minutes as he is getting back into game shape. This should mean more minutes for reserve big men Elton Brand and Mike Muscala until Millsap is fit to return.

This week in the southeast, Atlanta is resting, Washington’s coach is walking off, Miami has life, Charlotte is stinking, and the Magic are showing some promise.

Atlanta Hawks, 55-18, 1st in the East, 2-2 this week ATL

Atlanta’s week got off to a really bad start when they got smacked around by the San Antonio Spurs. It was the kind of game that’s starting to cause some concern among fans, and experts, about the Hawks post all-star break struggles. Is it just coasting or is there more to it? The following games didn’t say much as Atlanta beat both Florida teams before resting all their starters in a loss against Charlotte.

Washington Wizards, 41-33, 5th in the East, 1-4 this week WAS

The Wizards went out west this week and everything went to the pits for them. They went on a three game losing streak, pulled out a win against a Hornets team that can’t stay out of their way, and then immediately lost to the Houston Rockets. The “highlight” of their week is when Randy Wittman walked off the court before the game was over when his team was attempting to win the game on a halfcourt heave. Not a great look coach.
Continue Reading…

The Atlanta Hawks notched their 15th consecutive victory on Friday night, knocking off the Oklahoma City Thunder by a score of 103-93. The 15 straight wins in the best stretch in franchise history.

“I’m happy for our guys to have success,” said Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer, who will be the head coach of the Eastern Conference All Stars thanks to Atlanta’s record. “It’s a carry-over from the work on the court and work in the film room before practice and after practice. Our guys deserve to have an opportunity to do something. We just have to keep doing it.”

The Hawks started off extremely sloppy, allowing Oklahoma City to build a nine point lead early in the first half. “We’ve had a lot of good stars and tonight probably wasn’t one of them,” said Budenholzer. The Hawks kept turning the ball over, allowing the Thunder to get out and transition and get easy looks at the hoop. The Hawks also had some defensive breakdowns in the halfcourt that led to some open 3s for OKC.

After 12 turnovers in the first half, the Hawks started to clean it up in the second half with strong efforts from Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague. Millsap scored 17 points in the half and was the main player closing in the fourth quarter, while Teague led the Hawks through the third quarter with nine points in the period. Continue Reading…

Aron Baynes is the most underrated basketball player alive. just rated him 368th out of 500 players in #NBARank. Among the flotsam ranked ahead of him, just on that same page, were Jeff Withey, Meyers Leonard and Greg Stiemsma.

Last year there was another criminally-underrated player. He was rated 499th in #NBARank and started writing the number on his shoes as motivation. While he was languishing on the Golden State Warriors’ bench behind one of the deepest wing rotations in the league, I wrote on the Hawks blog that the Hawks should pursue him. I was laughed at. Why should the Hawks go after a scrub who can’t get playing time, I was asked.

That player got traded to the Lakers and averaged 13.1 PPG on 45% shooting from the field and 37% shooting from 3-point range over the last 23 games of the season. That player, now an Atlanta Hawk, is Kent Bazemore. Continue Reading…