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As much as Marty Blake’s legacy will be the profound, pioneering impact he had on NBA scouting, Blake also will be remembered fondly as one of the league’s great characters – starting during his tenure as general manager of the St. Louis Hawks during their eventful 13 years here before moving to Atlanta.
When Ben Kerner moved the franchise from Milwaukee to St. Louis in 1955, former Hawk Cheap Al Ferrari Jersey recalled Monday, “They didn’t have a nickel. I mean, zero. They were really down and out.”

A vital part of the team’s stock in trade became promotions, including along the way postgame entertainment at Kiel Auditorium with the likes of Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong.

But the team’s economic challenges led to some catches here and there.

For instance, if a ticket indicated a fan had won an expensive watch, Ferrari recalled, laughing, “Marty would track them down to use it for the next promotion, because they didn’t want to buy another watch.”

Such wheeling and dealing also extended to the product on the court, and two years after arriving here the Hawks reached the NBA finals.

A year after that, with Cheap Bob Pettit Jersey scoring 50 points in the decisive 110-109 victory over Boston in Game 6, the Hawks were NBA champions.

It was all in no small part because of the efforts of Blake, who died of undisclosed causes Sunday at age 86 in Alpharetta, Ga..

Blake literally ran that team out of “the pocket inside his sportcoat,” as former Post-Dispatch writer Dave Dorr once put it.

Evidence of that quirk never was more tangible than in an episode in 1957.

After the Hawks beat the Minneapolis Lakers at the Washington University Field House to earn a berth in the finals, team members hoisted Blake up, carried him toward an adjacent swimming pool and tossed him in.

“There were no credit cards in those days, and money (from the gate receipts) was floating all over the pool,” said Greg Marecek, founder and president of the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame and author of “Full Court: The Untold Stories of the St. Louis Hawks.”

Never mind that Blake purportedly couldn’t swim. When Kerner saw what was happening, Marecek said, laughing, he was said to have yelled, “Forget Marty – get the money out of the pool!”

Or as Jack Levitt, Blake’s colleague and longtime friend, recalled: “We had to go in and get him, and (Kerner) made us dive to get the money out of the pool.”

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Perhaps influenced by his early work under promotional genius Bill Veeck when they were in the Cleveland Indians’ system, Blake’s persona and tendency to spin yarns was such that it could be hard to separate color from fact in stories about and from him.

For instance, in a 2008 interview with the Post-Dispatch about former Hawk Cleo Hill, Blake took issue with insinuations that Hill’s career here was sabotaged by racism.

“I think somebody’s trying to rake the coals over a fire that’s not burning,” he said.

Then he casually said that his own acting career had never materialized after he played a dead body in the 1945 war movie, “They Were Expendable” and added, “We all have disappointments.”

Levitt, who characterized his own work with the Hawks as being a “jack-of-all-trades,” laughed at the mention of that Monday.

“That’s not a true story,” Levitt said, “but he used to use the line quite a bit.”

But Ferrari said, “I think that’s right,” and Blake once told Sports Illustrated he had performed in his fatigues while on leave from a military base near Miami.

There is no room for interpretation, though, in the meaning of Blake’s keen eye for talent and ability to harness that into practice first for the Hawks, then into his own business and finally for the league itself.

Before it was easy or trendy, Blake was known to scour the landscape for talent.

Marecek recalled him telling of an excursion into small-town Texas, where Blake was left riding in the back of a truck filled with chicken coops to check out a player with the help of a local farmer.

The trip led to the discovery of Cheap Zelmo Beaty Jersey, later the third overall pick in the 1962 NBA draft and an All-Star with the Hawks.

“I can not recall Marty being wrong on a player,” Levitt said. “And that’s a remarkable thing to say (considering) all the players who have passed by.”

That knack would be apparent on a national — and enduring — scale as Blake’s scouting work became a cornerstone of the NBA in the 1970s.

“Marty began his lifetime of service to basketball at a time when the league was still in its infancy,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said in a statement issued Sunday. “His work as a general manager and then as director of scouting for the NBA first helped the teams to understand the value of scouting.

“Marty’s dedication not just to the NBA but to basketball was extraordinary, and we will forever be indebted to him.”

Ferrari, who played five seasons with the Hawks, added: “In a crowd, he’d always have a line, he’d be dominating the conversation. But when you got him just one-on-one, he was a very gentle guy with a big, big heart.”

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Atlanta Hawks fans shouldn’t forget about the exciting Clint Capela.
The Atlanta Hawks’ season begins in just over a week, finally giving fans a glimpse of their revamped roster. The additions of Cheap Danilo Gallinari Jersey, Cheap Bogdan Bogdanovic Jersey and Cheap Rajon Rondo Jersey highlight their busy fall which also saw the team add a handful of solid role players.

But all these moves are somewhat overshadowed by what is perhaps the biggest acquisition they made: Cheap Clint Capela Jersey.

This move being a bit overlooked by now is understandable: it happened nine months ago at the trade deadline. Capela was hurt at the time and was just about to make his debut with the team before COVID-19 ended the Hawks’ season.

While Gallinari and Bogdanovic are very fun additions, Capela has the best chance of being the team’s best third-best player (behind Cheap Trae Young Jersey and Cheap John Collins Jersey).

During his time in Houston, Capela starred despite a more-than-questionable fit (the team traded him to officially go all-in on small ball). A dynamic rebounder and rim protector, he proved to be a top-10 center when healthy.

The Atlanta Hawks dominated free agency headlines with all of their offseason moves; here are three other players they should’ve grabbed.
Now that the initial wave of free agency news has died down, the Atlanta Hawks emerged as a team that got significantly better. Some think that this new-look Hawks roster is ready for the playoffs in an eastern conference that will see the return of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, and that now welcomes Russell Westbrook. Let’s take a look at three players the Atlanta Hawks should have signed to become even more competitive than they are right now.

Jerami Grant (Detroit Pistons)
As a member of the Denver Nuggets, Jerami Grant made a name for himself on the big “bubble” stage, helping to push Denver to the Western Conference Finals in a turn of events that no one could’ve predicted. Averaging 12 points, 4 rebounds, and an assist last year, many believed Grant would be moved to a contending team in free agency, to help them push for a championship. He’s instead now a member of the Detroit Pistons.

Jerami Grant, had he been signed to the Atlanta Hawks, would’ve immediately provided defensive relief for one of the worst defensive teams in the league. A capable scorer as well, at just 26 years old, Grant could’ve been a great player to pair with Trae Young for years to come. While Detroit surely overpaid for Grant, I think the Hawks might’ve been able to lure him to Atlanta for less.

Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)
The past few years have been a rollercoaster for Bradley Beal, but when he’s healthy and on the floor, we all can agree that he knows how to shoot and score the basketball. Those two things have been major deficiencies in the Atlanta Hawks’ gameplay since before drafting Trae Young.

Adding a player like Beal would’ve relieved pressure on Young, who was the only player on their previous roster who could create his own shot. Instead, Beal stays in Washinton, now paired with Russell Westbrook, on a team that no one has grand expectations for.

Chris Paul (Phoenix Suns)
It was no secret that the Atlanta Hawks needed to go out and find talent at the point guard position to supplement what they have in Trae Young. With Young being the franchise player, many speculated about seasoned veterans that the Hawks might try to pursue in free agency. Chris Paul spent last season reminding the entire NBA once again that he is still a premier point guard in the league, and is still incredibly valuable at the age of 35.

Paul dragged a young Oklahoma City Thunder team to the playoffs in a year where the odds against them had never been greater. The Atlanta Hawks secured Rajon Rondo but Chris Paul provides more value both offensively and defensively, while still providing the mentorship and leadership that Trae Young and the rest of the Hawks roster will need to succeed in the future. He’ll now provide that value for Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns. Granted, this whole scenario could’ve been different had the Hawks drafted Paul in 2005 as they should have, but here we are.

NEXT: What if the Atlanta Hawks would’ve drafted Chris Paul?
The Atlanta Hawks, despite not making these moves, are now increasingly better than they were at the start of the free agency period. We’ll see if the moving and shaking they did pushes them into the playoffs as they might hope, or if they need to try to make another move before the deadline.

The buzz was expectedly there when the team made the trade in February, especially given his fit. Many noted that the lob threat would mesh great with the brilliant-passing Young. Adding an elite pick-and-roll option will give the team another flair on offense.

But his biggest strength is his defense, exactly what the Atlanta Hawks need. The 6-foot-10 big man has great shot-blocking instincts and has a rare blend of size and speed that allows him to effectively defend multiple positions.

It’s no secret the Hawks struggled defensively in past seasons and the additions of offensive aces Gallinari and Bogdanovic didn’t exactly help with that. Cheap Kris Dunn Jersey and Cheap Onyeka Okongwu Jersey will help, but Capela will be the face and leader of the Hawks’ defense which should be much improved.

Defense may be his biggest strength but this is not to say he’s a poor rebounder. Quite the opposite, actually. He has averaged double-digit boards per game each season since 2017, including a career-high 13.8 per game last year.

Only six teams in the league had fewer rebounds than the Hawks in 2019-20 and he should really help them vault up in that category.

Caplea is a solid player, but his addition to the Atlanta Hawks is very exciting as his strengths perfectly overlap with the Hawks’ weaknesses. And while it’s okay to get excited about all the other moves, don’t forget about the center. He has All-Star potential.

NEXT: Where did Trae Young leave off?
What Atlanta Hawks player are you most excited for in 2020-21?