Atlanta Hawks Inspire Next Generation Of Esports Professionals

the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm teamed up for a ‘Console to Career’ esports panel at the Ron Anderson Recreation Center in Cobb County. Forty students heard from local esports professionals about different career paths and opportunities in gaming and learned how they turned their passion into a career. As part of the event, students participated in various demonstration stations.

The event tipped off with a panel featuring Hawks Talon and local gaming professionals including Wesley Acuff (Director of Esports at Hawks Talon GC), Justice Miranda (Director of Operations at Cxmmunity) and Erich Thomas (Co-Founder of Pharaoh’s Conclave (PCX)). Moderated by Esports broadcaster Zunaid “India” Suleman, the panel discussed some of the career opportunities that exist in esports and the importance of diversity and inclusivity in technology and gaming. In addition, Hawks Talon GC Head Coach Ismael Diaz-Tolentino was also on site and interacted with students.

“Any time we can impact youth and provide information and resources to help shape a positive future, is a win in my book,” said Hawks Talon GC’s Director of Esports Wesley Acuff. “It’s super important to continue to have these conversations and discuss the many opportunities that are available in the esports industry, aside from just being the pro athlete.”

After the panel, students were divided into groups and participated in various activation stations where they played sports and action games. The panelists joined them at each station and were able to explain how the different games connected to their individual career paths.

The Ron Anderson Recreation Center’s Good Neighbor Club was chosen because it is esports-focused and recently received enhanced gaming technology courtesy of State Farm.

“It was a pleasure to partner once again with the Hawks to expose our youth to the many career opportunities within the growing industry of esports,” said State Farm Corporate Responsibility Manager Tanya James. “We at State Farm are committed to providing experiences that inspire and empower Atlanta’s youth to reach their full potential.”

The Hawks and State Farm have led efforts in multiple community-focused initiatives to better serve Metro Atlanta. In March, the organizations joined together to host a STEM and Innovation Night at N.H. Scott Recreation Center in Decatur, Ga. The Hawks and State Farm have previously teamed up to open other Good Neighbor Clubs in locations such as: William Walker Recreation Center in Atlanta, Lucky Shoals Park in Gwinnett, Lynwood Park in Brookhaven, Welcome All Park in South Fulton, Coan Park Recreation Center in Atlanta and Bessie Branham Park in Kirkwood.

To learn more about the Hawks’ work in the community, visit

Hawks Talon starts THE TIPOFF 5v5 action on Tuesday, May 23 against Gen G Tigers. The game is set for 6 p.m. ET and can be watched via the Hawks Talon Twitch channel at

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