Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce hosted his inaugural Community Spades Tournament in partnership with State Farm Friday night at William Walker Recreation Center.
Coach Pierce has been wanting to host a spades tournament since becoming head coach. Why spades? Spades is a game that Coach Pierce grew up on and it’s a game that he’s passionate about. Him and his wife even have a line about spades in their vows.
“This event symbolizes the importance of bringing the community and bringing family and keeping family together. When you sit around at a card table, whether it’s drinks or food, you can sit there for hours and enjoy your family.”
The tournament had 68 teams with a lot of teams coming directly from the community and wasn’t publicized, however, in the future Coach Pierce’s hope is to grow the tournament.
“The plan is to grow it, to make it bigger and to raise some money for different foundations I’m involved with.”
While the spades tournament was strictly for adults, there was an UNO tournament simultaneously held in the State Farm Good Neighbor Club at the recreation center.
CEO Steve Koonin, former player Dominique Wilkins, current players Traveon Graham and Brandon Goodwin joined in on the fun. Brandon Goodwin brought his aunt as his spades partner and admitted he didn’t know where he learned spades from. “I’ve been playing all kinds of card games since I was younger. I think I just picked up on it watching people.”
John Collins was there to offer support.
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How does Coach Pierce stay True to Atlanta?
“This is it. I get more excited about the community stuff than I do basketball. Basketball is what we all expect. It’s just the normal everyday process. Rarely do we get to do these types of events. I’m partnering with Hope Through Soap, Georgia Innocence Project, Solomon’s Temple…all these things where you’re bringing people together and everything’s positive is the whole purpose. This is part of the commitment and leadership as a head coach.”
The tournament winners received a trophy, court side tickets to an upcoming Hawks game, a customized jersey and a host of other prizes.