Hawks, NBA mourn Lou Hudson’s death

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com

VIDEO: Hawks legend Lou Hudson died at age 69

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Hawks great Lou Hudson passed away this morning at 69.

A six-time NBA All-Star, Hudson had been in a local Atlanta hospital on life support after a suffering severe stroke late last month. He was reportedly taken off of life support two weeks ago and remained in a coma until his death.

Lou Hudson

Lou Hudson was a six-time All-Star as a member of the Hawks.

Hudson is one of three Hawks with his number (23) retired, joining Bob Pettit (No. 9) and Dominique Wilkins (No. 21) on that elite list. Known as “Sweet Lou,” Hudson played 11 of his 13 NBA seasons for the Hawks and during his stellar career averaged 20.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists.

Hudson was a first round pick of the Hawks (No. 4 overall) in the 1966 NBA Draft after starring at the University of Minnesota in college, where he also had his No. 14 jersey retired. A native of Greensboro, N.C., Hudson was a three-sport star (football, track and basketball) in high school and was also drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 1966 despite never having played a single down of college football.

But Hudson made his mark in a Hawks uniform. Beginning with the 1969-70 season, Hudson put together a stretch of five consecutive years where he averaged at least 24.0 ppg. He averaged 20 or more points in seven of his 11 seasons with the Hawks and still shares the franchise single-game scoring record, having put up 57 points against Chicago on November 10, 1969.

“Lou Hudson holds a special place in the Hawks family, in the hearts of our fans and in the history of our club,” Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon said in a statement released by the team. “As a fan growing up with this team, I’m fortunate to say I was able to see almost every game Sweet Lou played as a member of the Hawks. He was an integral part of successful Hawks teams for over a decade, and is deservedly recognized with the ultimate symbol of his significance to the franchise with the number 23 hanging inside Philips Arena. On behalf of the Hawks organization, I’d like to extend condolences to Lou’s family and friends.”


  1. Rob Fuller says:

    When you are young and impressionable it is so eacy to be influenced and inspired by someone succeeding in an endeavour you have an interest in. For me it was basketball and what a remarkable impression and influence Lou Hudson was for me! Thanks to the family for sharing his life and the NC A&T coach who unselfishly advised him to leave Greensboro, NC and attend the Univ. of Minnesota. RIP Mr. Hudson

  2. Reginald Hodges says:

    Lou Hudson was a friend, high school team mate and an inspiration. In 1960/61, Sweet Lou took Dudley High School and Greensboro NC on an unforgettable journey that would end in a state championship. Nene, Scatch, Killer and Reggie were all role players on Lou’s team. We won because Lou willed us to win. Lou will live for ever in the heart of Dudley High, Greensboro and Lou’s team mates.

  3. Timmy D says:

    Lou Hudson was about the most underrated player in the history of the NBA. Had to play with Hawks and Maravich, which as he said, were how the cards fell. A tough break, but he was the best shooter around.
    I was at a clinic in New Bedford, MA that he conducted in 1972. Very cool, but serious about the game.
    A Humanitarian. Hall of Famer beyond any doubt.

  4. Dwight says:

    I remember you dancing in your chair at the Hawks game. Fly high Lou…

  5. jelguris says:

    As a 29 year old i never had the privilege to see him play, but it touches me to read the comments from people who remember him. It makes me yearn for a time that i didn’t grew up in, a time that has it’s own heroes. Rest in peace Mr. Hudson, shooting hoops in heaven.

  6. Bill Pogue says:

    I was in grad school at Univ of Minnesota when Lou played with the Gophers, and well remember seeing him once sitting in a cafeteria-like space in the student union. There was noise and potential distraction all round, but the tall, long-legged Hudson sat stretched-out on his chair reading from a textbook as if he were alone in his study. It was an example (I’ve since seen others) of how even non-scholarly athletes have to time-manage and comparmentalize their lives in ways most young people never learn to do.

    There were doubtless many reasons he was called “Sweet Lou.” Certainly I saw quite often oncourt but shall prize the memory, however, of seeing the star athlete in preoccupied study amid distractions.

  7. Greg Gorecky says:

    Lou Hudson was one of my favourite players when I was a young fan growing up, and thankfully I did have a the pleasure of seeing him play live once when the Buffalo Braves were playing some games in Toronto in the mid seventies. I also feel he should have been elected in the Hall of Fame by now as one of the best players of his era along with Pete Maravich. Rest in peace Lou, my condolences go out to the Hudson family.

  8. esc says:

    I followed Hudson’s career. I remember the night he had 57 points. Double-check this: it was against the Kansas City Kings- not the Chicago Bulls. Thank the editor for the update on Lou Hudson as this is a sad day for me personally, and I hope the NBA (who never gave him his just due as an NBA great) will now finally acknowledge him. As a teen-ager I could not afford a Hudson #23 jersey, so I glued this number and name on the back of my basketball shirt. Thoughts an prayers to hsi loved-ones.

  9. Robert Fitzpatrick says:

    Lou, left so many memories of great nights I spent in The Omni.What a player Loved in Atlanta. R.I.P. Sweet Lou!

  10. esc says:

    Hudson was/is my favorite player of all times. I followed his career as an Atlanta Hawk He was the greatest “pure” shooter of his generation. For a jump shooter to hit 53% of his shots during an NBA season is unheard of today. Don’t take my word for it, just google what Jerry West said about him over twenty years ago. thoughts and prayers go out to the Hudson family.