Former Atlanta Hawk Lou Hudson dies

ATLANTA -- Hawks great and six-time All-Star Lou Hudson died Friday, the baskeball team announced.

Hudson was hospitalized and listed in grave condition last month after a stroke. He was 69 years old.

Hudson was drafted in the first round and fourth overall in the 1966 NBA Draft by the St. Louis Hawks.

He averaged 20.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists in his 13-year NBA career, including 11 seasons with the Hawks. His number 23 is one of three retired jerseys that hangs in the rafters at Philips Arena.

In St. Louis he was named to the All-NBA Rookie Team.

Hudson missed part of the 1967-68 season to serve his country in the United States Army, then returned as the Hawks relocated to Atlanta in 1968. He scored the first basket in Atlanta Hawks history on October 15, 1968.

He was traded by Atlanta to the Los Angeles Lakers in 1977, and played his final two seasons with Los Angeles.

Hudson later moved to Park City, Utah where he served on the City Council in the 1990's. He was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 1988, the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.

One of the first three African-American basketball players to attend the University of Minnesota, Hudson played for legendary coach John Kundla. His uniform number 14 was retired by the Gophers in 1994 and he's a member of the school's athletic Hall of Fame.

Hudson was born in Greensboro, North Carolina on July 11, 1944 and starred in basketball, football and track at Dudley High School in his hometown. He was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1966 NFL Draft despite not playing college football.

Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon issued this statement:

"Lou Hudson holds a special place in the Hawks family, in the hearts of our fans and in the history of our club. As a fan growing up with this team, I'm fortunate to say I was able to see almost every game Sweet Lou played as a member of the Hawks. He was an integral part of successful Hawks teams for over a decade, and is deservedly recognized with the ultimate symbol of his significance to the franchise with the number 23 hanging inside Philips Arena. On behalf of the Hawks organization, I'd like to extend condolences to Lou's family and friends."


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