“True to Atlanta” Finally Pays Off: Atlanta Sports on the Rise


NBAE via Getty Images

Ice cold: Trae Young silences New York’s Madison Square Garden after playoff win this past summer.

For the last twenty years, Atlanta sports have been stuck in purgatory. Every October, diehard Braves fans see other teams raise the Commissioner’s Trophy. Every June, defeated Hawks see another year out of the playoffs, and instead find themselves in the NBA draft lottery for another year. Yet finally, after what feels like an eternity, Atlanta sports are back with vengeance. A youth movement led by six foot one superstar Trae Young has brought the Hawks back to a place that they haven’t reached since when the team was located in St. Louis, but that’s not all. 13 miles away from Statefarm Arena, the Bravos are looking to win their third consecutive national league (NL) east division pennant. Led by MVP-caliber outfielder, Ronald Acuna Jr. and veteran star, Freddie Freeman, the Braves are finally changing the narrative about what they can do. It’s no easy task to challenge teams like the Dodgers or Yankees, but Braves Manager, Brain Snitker is up for the challenge. 

This past Summer, the Hawks shocked the world when they dominated the New York Knicks in the first round of the playoffs. “Ice Trae” not only shut down the Knicks and outplayed all-star Julius Randle, but froze over Madison Square Garden with his smooth jumper and infamous stare downs. Just weeks later, the Hawks rode their first round victory all the way into round two, where they took down the top-seeded 76ers in a brutally loud and aggressive Wells Fargo Center. After a long seven game series in Philly, the Hawks met their demise against the eventual champion, the Milwaukee Bucks led by the “Greek Freak,” Giannis Antetokounmpo. Despite losing in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Hawks were playing with house money and brought excitement back to “The A.” Atlanta sports junky and junior at North Atlanta, Jame O’byrne was asked about the Hawks recent success and he said, “Watching the Hawks prior to this year was dreadful. We were the laughing stock of the Eastern Conference, but now the future is bright thanks to our culture change.”  

The Braves have been trying to party like it’s ‘95, the first and only time the franchise have been crowned World Champions, but it just has not been in the cards for them. Many students at North Atlanta grew up admiring players such as Hall of Famer, Chipper Jones, and defensive phenoms Andrelton Simmons and Jason Heyward, but hoping for playoff success was wishful thinking. The next generation of Braves players, however, are making Atlanta baseball fun again. Although Ronald Acuña Jr. ‘s 2021 season has been cut short due to injury, the 2020 NL MVP, Freddie Freeman, and rising star Austin Riley have continued to propel the team to first place in a competitive NL East division. “The Braves have had a rocky season this year with Acuña’s injury, but with the three game lead in the division, I’m excited to see how our postseason run pans out this year,” O’byrne said.

While the big market teams in Los Angeles, Boston, and New York will always be dominant in their respective sports, it is finally time to get Atlanta the respect they deserve whether it’s on the hardwood or the base paths. A banner has not been raised in A-Town for far too long, so get ready NAHS sports fans because a parade is coming to a city near you.