Statement from the Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks family has learned of the passing of Hawks great and six-time All-Star Lou Hudson today in Atlanta.
Originally drafted in the first round (fourth overall) of the 1966 NBA Draft by the St. Louis Hawks, Hudson averaged 20.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists (.489 FG%, .797 FT%) in his 13-year NBA career, including 11 outstanding seasons with the Hawks. His number 23 is one of three retired jerseys that hangs in the rafters at Philips Arena.
Hudson averaged 18.4 points as a rookie in St. Louis, and was named to the All-NBA Rookie Team. After missing part of the 1967-68 season to serve his country in the United States Army, Hudson returned as the franchise relocated to Atlanta in 1968, and scored the first basket in Atlanta Hawks history on October 15, 1968. In 1970, he helped lead the Hawks to the Western Division Championship.
The 1969-70 season began a stretch of five consecutive years averaging at least 24.0 points per game. In his 11 years with the Hawks, he put up 20.0 points per game or better seven times. He shares the franchise single-game scoring record, having put up 57 points against Chicago on November 10, 1969.
He was traded by Atlanta to the Los Angeles Lakers on September 30, 1977, and played his final two seasons with Los Angeles. Hudson later relocated to Park City, Utah where he served on the City Council in the 1990’s and was active in numerous charitable endeavors. He later moved back to the Atlanta area, and regularly attended games and team alumni events. 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.
Funeral arrangements have not been announced.
STATEMENT FROM ATLANTA HAWKS CO-OWNER MICHAEL GEARON:
“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.”