While the Atlanta Hawks continue to compete for the second-best record in the Eastern Conference, they have found a way to compete off of the basketball court.
The New York Times has released a piece that details how the team has bonded through the card of game of ‘Uno.’ The game contains a simple objective—get rid of your cards the fastest and you win. However, the Hawks’ version of ‘Uno’ is spiced up a bit as Draw 2s and Draw 4s are added from other decks to make the game more challenging.
The game is typically played while the Hawks are traveling through airplane. However, this isn’t just a game played to pass the time and help the team bond—it gets very competitive, as guard Justin Holiday notes: “They get serious. Real serious.”
Assistant coach Darvin Ham states that the games get so intense, the players literally get emotional:
“The Uno guys are screaming and cheering. It’s every emotion possible.”
The tradition started off on an innocent note last season when Jeff Teague brought a deck of Uno cards on one of the team’s trips. Eventually, Teague recruited Kent Bazemore, Al Horford, Kyle Korver and Dennis Schroder to start participating in a regular game.
The game of ‘Uno’ is taken so seriously by the Hawks that guard Tim Hardaway Jr. was kicked out of the group because he chose to sit out for one flight. Any player involved is expected to be a full participant, with no excused absences.
Schroder clarified why Hardaway was kicked out of the group:
“He said he was tired and wanted to rest. So we had to kick him out.”
As competitive as the card game gets among Hawks teammates, the team bonds as a result. Considering Atlanta is one of the top NBA squads that thrives off of a team concept rather than one or two superstars surrounded by a supporting cast, the cohesion developed through an innocuous card game is a valuable experience for Hawks players.
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