ATLANTA — The Atlanta Hawks today announced plans to permanently honor the memory of former Atlanta Journal-Constitution Hawks beat writer Sekou Smith, who passed away on Jan. 26 at the age of 48. In respect to his dedication to journalism, building relationships and mentoring young journalists, the Hawks will honor the legacy of Smith with three lasting and meaningful tributes:
- The Hawks will name the media workroom at State Farm Arena after Smith, redesigning the space to honor his memory. The Sekou Smith Press Room will formally open to media for the 2021-22 NBA season.
- Beginning at the end of this season, the Sekou Smith Award will annually honor the player on the team’s roster who best represents themselves and the franchise with professionalism and integrity in their interactions with the media. A plaque in the media workroom will display the name of each season’s honoree, and an on-court trophy presentation will be held including the winner and members of Smith’s family.
- The team will launch an annual Hawks-NBA Summer League internship in Smith’s name. Each summer, a journalism or multi-media student from a Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) school will be selected to serve as the Hawks’ beat writer for NBA Summer League, and their work will appear on the team’s digital team properties, providing valuable experience and clips. In addition to covering associated travel costs, the Hawks will provide a stipend to the intern. The SWAC is comprised of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) including Jackson State University, Smith’s alma mater.
Smith served as the AJC’s Hawks beat writer from 2005-09 before joining NBA Digital as a multimedia reporter and analyst. He also spent time at The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, MS and the Indianapolis Star, where he covered the Indiana Pacers as the team’s beat writer.