L to R: Atlanta Hawks owner Jamie Gertz, Sgt. Eric Morante, United States Marine Corps, and Stephen Wilson, Director of Whisky Engagement For Crown Royal, stand together at the third annual "Crowning Courage" on Sunday, March 10.
Kat Goduco Photography

Atlanta Hawks Season Ticket Members Donate More Than 100 Courtside Seats At The Club's 3rd Annual 'Crowning Courage' Event in Partnership With Crown Royal

ATLANTA – For a third consecutive season, the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club and Crown Royal joined together to honor more than 100 active and retired military personnel and their guests at the club’s ‘Crowning Courage’ event held on Sunday, Mar. 10. As an expression of gratitude for their service, Hawks’ Season Ticket Members generously donated their courtside seats to veterans and a guest to enjoy the club’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans. 

“The Atlanta Hawks, the NBA and Crown Royal are forever grateful to the real heroes of this country,” said Hawks’ CEO Steve Koonin. “This yearly event is just one of the ways we say ‘thank you’ for the sacrifices that both these courageous men and women and their families have made." 

At a private pregame reception held at the arena, troops, their guests, and season ticket members were greeted by Atlanta Hawks Owner Jami Gertz just before a special Toast to Generosity with Stephen Wilson, Director of Whisky Engagement for Crown Royal. Sgt. Eric Morante, United States Marine Corps, also delivered a special keynote focused around his commitment to the sport of boxing. Also on site was Beautyrest who hosted a raffle and donated four brand-new Beautyrest Black mattress sets to honor the deserving veterans in attendance.

“There is no greater act of generosity than serving your country,” said Wilson. “Crown Royal has had a long-standing tradition of supporting our brave military men and women. From The Crown Royal Purple Bag Project in partnership with Packages From Home, to our Wall of Gratitude at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it has always been imperative for us to find impactful ways to say, ‘thank you for your service.’ Crowning Courage is about raising a glass to celebrate our heroes and all that they’ve done to protect our freedom.”

Prior to tipoff, John Collins, Hawks’ second-year forward, whose mother served in the United States Air Force, welcomed military personnel and their guests, who were seated courtside in a special address. The red carpet treatment for the veterans also included customized Hawks’ jerseys that featured their military unit number.  

Throughout the game, video vignettes featuring Major Jesse Sladek, United States Army, SMSgt Gregory Stephens, United States Air Force and Obadiah Herndon, United States Air Force, reflected on their service. At halftime, veterans were recognized at center court. In the arena, fans of legal drinking age stopped by The Crown Royal Purple Bag Project Bag to pack bags with essentials to be sent to service men and women overseas, in partnership with Packages From Home. Throughout the day, fans posted to social media using the hashtag #CrowningCourage to thank veterans in their lives. These posts were then showcased inside the arena as a digital wall of gratitude.