The Atlanta Hawks are mourning the loss of one of the team’s all-time greats today, as former All-Star point guard for both the St. Louis and Atlanta teams, Lou Hudson, died today at the age of 69.
According to a team report, Hudson died in Atlanta, where he had been hospitalized and listed in grave condition since last month after suffering a stroke.
Another Hawks icon, Dominique Wilkins, says he hopes that young fans will do a little research to learn about the man they used to call “Sweet Lou”.
“Young people today don’t know how good Lou Hudson really was,” Wilkins, a Hall of Famer, said in an AP interview (via NBA.com). “He was a hell of a player. The guy could score with the best in history. He was a phenomenal basketball player.
“He should be a Hall of Famer and it’s amazing to me he’s not. He was one of the best (shooting) guards and that’s a fact. You go back and look at his career and look at the numbers and see what he did and you understand.”
The stats that Hudson boasted for his career would apparently corroborate Wilkins feelings, as he averaged more than 20 points per game during 13 NBA seasons, and this during a time when scoring 20 points a game was thought of as a real accomplishment.
Hudson was the real face of the franchise when the team made the move to Atlanta in 1968, and older fans of the team will well remember how effortless and quick Hudson looked on the court. He never was a showman, nor did he care much for the spotlight, but he brought a lot to a team that was struggling for an NBA identity in their new home.
Hudson’s No. 23 was retired by the Hawks, adding him to the list of Bob Pettit and Wilkins as the only other Hawks honored in such fashion.