The Atlanta Hawks are beginning their new season by dedicating a new mural in East Atlanta.
Local artist Muhammad Yungai was commissioned for the work.
“It’s very colorful, it’s abstract, the same way Atlanta is, It’s always flowing, always moving, always busy,” said Yungai.
The Hawks open their season Thursday night at State Farm Arena against the Dallas Mavericks. Atlanta is coming off an appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals this past summer.
“For Atlanta, we’re trying to re-capture that energy of that last playoff season,” said Yungai. “We got this new Hawks team led by the amazing Trae Young, so we really just want to keep that energy and that cheering and that spirit.”
The mural starts as a miniature basketball court on the ground and then extends up the front of a building on Flat Shoals Avenue. The mural, a collaboration of the Hawks and Modelo, also features a basketball hoop with an image of the Atlanta skyline as the backboard, bordered by a gilded frame.
“The only thing about it is, trying to see if people are actually going to try and dunk on this hoop that’s here in the neighborhood,” Yungai said with a smile. “We do want to discourage that, this is not a live basketball rim.”
To incorporate the hoop, Yungai worked with Jarrett Ellis at Hoop Dream Studio. It’s a company that makes customized basketball hoops that look more like artwork than sports equipment.
Ellis said he designed his first custom hoop when he was in college.
“I had it in my dorm room for a while and a bunch of my friends came over and kept playing on it and they all wanted one,” said Ellis. “And from there I just kept on making more, playing with different materials, different lights”.
He says he hopes the mural captures the vibrancy, fun and diversity of the city and is glad to collaborate with the Hawks.
“I feel like they’re bringing a new excitement to the Atlanta basketball scene,” said Ellis. “And I feel like that’s something we try to catch on to, too.”