Hawks, Crown Royal Celebrate Veterans at One-Of-A-Kind Event

Seventy Active Duty and Retired Military Honored at Reception Prior to Club’s Victory
Jennifer Boxley

ATLANTA -- For the second consecutive season, the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club and Crown Royal partnered to honor military personnel at ‘Crowning Courage’ held on Sunday, March 4. As an expression of gratitude for their service, Hawks season ticket members donated their courtside seats to veterans for them and a guest to enjoy the game versus the Phoenix Suns. Sharecare, Inc., the official jersey patch partner of the Atlanta Hawks, also contributed by donating 20 select lower-level seats to veterans. At the private reception prior to the game, troops and season ticket members were welcomed by Atlanta Hawks Owner Jami Gertz and CEO Steve Koonin.

“The Atlanta Hawks, the NBA and Crown Royal are forever grateful to our troops,” said Steve Koonin, Hawks CEO. “This event is just a small token of our appreciation for the sacrifices they and their families have made.”

In addition to the club’s executive leadership, some of the team’s most recognizable alumni. Special Advisor to the Hawks CEO and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins and former Hawks player Jim Washington were there to autograph basketballs and take photographs with military personnel and their guests.

Stephen Wilson, Director of Whisky Engagement for Crown Royal and Sgt. Wesley Hillis, US Marine Corps, participated in a discussion about the significance of the event. During the conversation, Hillis reflected on his time as a US Marine and his contribution to the 2010 film, The Battle for Marjah. At the end of the exchange, Wilson led those in attendance for a special “Generosity Toast” with Crown Royal Reserve.

“There is no greater act of generosity than serving your country,” said Wilson. “Crowning Courage is about raising a glass and celebrating our heroes and all that they’ve done to protect our freedom.”

Seventy current and former service members represented the United States Army, Marines, Air Force and Navy dating back to World War II.

As the reception ended, Veterans were escorted to the exclusive Courtside Club and Hawks Bar, the NBA’s first-and-only courtside bar, for a premium in-game experience. During a break in the game’s action, they received a standing ovation from the crowd and throughout the contest, the Philips Arena center-hung scoreboard displayed the stories of select military personnel in video vignettes.

Hawks fans showed their appreciation for our troops by creating more than 400 custom care packages at the Crown Royal Bar. Many in attendance took time to fill Crown Royal bags with snacks and handwritten notes, which were then shipped to active duty troops.

Crown Royal also sponsored a seat upgrade for a military member, providing the opportunity for this recipient and a guest to exchange their upper-level tickets for an experience in floor seats.