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Atlanta Hawks want fans to lock arms during anthem at home games

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The Atlanta Hawks have reacted to what some NBA teams are doing during the national anthem by suggesting that fans should get involved in it as well.

A handful of NBA teams, including the Boston Celtics, have started to lock arms during the playing of the anthem as the exhibition season has gotten underway.

The Houston Rockets and New York Knicks took it one step further by lining up together and locking arms during the anthem as a demonstration of unity.

The Hawks’ home exhibition opener at Phillips Arena next Monday already has been tabbed “a unity game to celebrate Atlanta’s multicultural groups and diversity,” per an Atlanta Journal-Constitution report. With that in mind, the Hawks discussed following a practice this week asking all fans in attendance lock arms during the anthem. The presumption would be the demonstration could carry over into the regular season.

“We want to start it here in Atlanta,” said Dwight Howard, who is credited for coming up with the idea. “It could be something really good here to show that as a city Atlanta is unified no matter what color, race, religion that you are. When you come to these games, we want to show that we are unified and we are together. The guys are going to compete on the floor.

“But before the games, we still want to pay homage to all those who died to fight for our country but at the same time we want to show that we are unified. We want everybody who is at the arena to show respect to each other. That’s where it starts. If we can start as a country respecting each other just by simple gestures, locking arms, saying that we are together things can hopefully change for the better. I think that will be a good start for us.”

It’s a novel idea. And it’s likely to garner more universal support than the more solitary-based demonstrations spawned by Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the anthem. Whether it catches on or not, however, is another story.

[Pro Basketball Talk]