Today John Collins turns 24-years-old, and it's time for us to celebrate the charismatic big man. Since the Hawks selected Collins with the 19th overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft, 'John the Baptist' has done everything the organization has asked of him and more. Despite roster turnover and coaching changes, Collins has continued to thrive in Atlanta. Let's look back at the greatest moments in his young career:
Kemba Walker Block to Snap Losing Streak
In November of 2018, the Hawks were riding a 10-game losing streak. That all ended when Charlotte Hornets point guard Kemba Walker took the ball to the rim only for Collins to do his best Dikembe Mutombo impression and secure the victory.
2019 NBA Dunk Contest
Hawks fans may not have been pleased with the judge's scores. But it was satisfying to see another Hawks player carry on Dominique Wilkins tradition of participating in the NBA Dunk Contests. It was even better to see Collins pay homage to the Tuskegee Airmen in Charlotte, North Carolina (the state first in flight).
Game-Saving Block Against Pistons
Before the Hawks went on a miraculous playoff run, they got off to a slow start. With a record of 6-7 in January of 2021, Collins single-handedly sent the game to overtime which the Hawks ended up winning.
Career High in The Bay
After the team caught fire, they were virtually unstoppable. Collins outdid himself by pouring in 38 points in a win against the Golden State Warriors.
Baptizing Joel Embiid
This one should come as no surprise. In a contentious playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers, Collins completely disrespected Joel Embiid with the alley-oop finish. The 76ers won the game, but the Hawks won the series. And Collins got the last laugh.
Off The Glass Finish Over Brook Lopez
If you thought Collins was done posterizing the league's best rim protectors, then you were sorely mistaken. After the Hawks eliminated the 76ers, Collins went over Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez for the finish. At this point, whenever Collins sees a defender near the rim he turns into the evil Patrick Star meme.
Every Alley-Oop From Trae Young
There are entire full-length YouTube videos that document every alley-oop from Young to Collins. It's music to my ears every time I hear Hawks announcer Bob Rathbun exclaim, "Collins!" This duo reminds me of the connection between Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan during the Lob City Clippers era, except this team actually made it to the conference finals. So maybe Payton and Kemp from the SuperSonics era in Seattle is the better comparison.
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