The fans voted and their votes came to fruition Friday evening in a private ceremony at Philips Arena as the Atlanta Hawks announced the final results for the “Team of the 90’s.”
The team honored the top players voted at each position by fans on Hawks.com. The finalists, Mookie Blaylock, Kevin Willis, Dominique Wilkins, Dikembe Mutombo and Steve Smith, were all unveiled as the starting five to the Atlanta Hawks Team of the 1990s.
“It’s a great honor to be in the company of Dikembe, Steve Smith, Dominique Wilkins and Mookie Blaylock,” former Hawks power forward Kevin Willis told the Daily World. “But it’s an honor to be a part of this Hawk family and do what we do.”
Voting for the all-90’s team opened up on Jan. 14 when the Hawks announced the hosting of two Hardwood Classics Nights, one Friday vs. the Sacramento Kings and another Mar. 15 when the Phoenix Suns come to town.
Four-fifths of the starting line-up was in attendance, with former point guard Mookie Blaylock unable to make the ceremony. Blaylock ran the Atlanta offense from 1992 to1999 and was known for his speed, long-range shooting and being a dangerous presence on defense, leading the NBA in steals from 1996 to 1998.
Shooting guard Steve Smith, best known for his five-year stint with the Hawks and television commentary on NBA TV, was considered one of the game’s premier three-point shooters during his prime and still holds the franchise single-game record for three-pointers in a game with nine.
Smith was recently honored by being inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.
The most famous of the five and the man in the room and the one generally considered the greatest Hawk of all-time was Hall of Fame small forward Dominique Wilkins. “The Human Highlight Film” was selected to nine consecutive All-Star Games (five in the ’90s), won two Slam Dunk Competition titles, sits as the Hawks’ all-time leading scorer, and announcer on SportSouth and Fox Sports South.
Wilkins did not take part in the individual interviews after the panel ceremony because he had to get to the announcer table.
Kevin Willis was one of the most dominant power forwards of the late 80’s and 90’s. Willis spent 12 of his 22 NBA seasons with the Hawks, scoring more than 10,000 points and pulling down more than 7,000 rebounds.
Dikembe Mutombo came to the Hawks in 1996 and in his five seasons in Atlanta, he recorded 1,094 blocks and 4,321 rebounds, also leading the team in field goal percentage in each of his five seasons.
“I’m so happy to be a part of a wonderful basketball tradition,” said eight-time NBA All-Star and former Hawks center Dikembe Mutombo. “Being with these guys says a lot about their accomplishments in the game and the way they approached the game. It’s just an honor for me to be a part of the tradition.”