Thursday January 22nd, 2015

Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford said on The Dan Patrick Show that he believes the team would welcome general manager Danny Ferry back should Ferry return from his leave of absence. 

Ferry took an indefinite leave of absence from the Hawks after the public revelation that he recounted a racist remark during a conference call with his ownership group this summer. 

Horford said Ferry "made a mistake" and doesn't see why the team wouldn't welcome him back. He called the incident "one of those things that was unfortunate that happened," but said the team didn't it to be a distraction during preseason. 

NADKARNI: Can Hawks carry their success past this season?

"We have a group of veteran guys that understood what we had at hand and we didn't really want to get caught up in things we couldn't control," he said. "So our whole thing was to focus on playing basketball, keep training. We're not gonna let this mess our season up."

In September, Hawks owner Bruce Levenson decided to sell his controlling interest in the team because of a 2012 email in which he expressed racial stereotypes about his fan base.

Asked about whether he feels the relationship between the local community and the team has changed since, Horford says he believes the relationship has "grown stronger." He also believes people in the community are "kind of ready to move on" and focus on how well the team is doing instead. 

"I feel like people here, not only Atlanta but Georgia in general, I feel like people are starting to embrace our team. And it was even before we started with all this winning -- obviously the winning helps now, but I feel like our community has grown tighter."

The Hawks are 35-8 this season and in first place in the Southeast division. 

• ​GOLLIVER: All-Ignored: Biggest snubs in 2015 All-Star voting

- Molly Geary

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