ATLANTA — Hawks forward Al Horford doesn’t feel anxious when he plays. But when he’s viewing sports as a fan, everything changes.
That’s the role Horford will play on Monday night when his brother, Jon, suits up for Michigan against Louisville in the NCAA title game at the Georgia Dome.
“I don’t get nervous when I play, I never do,” Al Horford said. “I actually feel good about it because I know I can control things, I can do stuff, but when I’m out there watching a team I’m rooting for and I can’t really do anything, I get nervous. Especially, (Jon’s) going to be there. I’m not telling him this, but I’m anxious. I’m sure they’ll be fine.”
The younger Horford, a 6-foot-10 sophomore, has averaged 2.8 points and 2.2 rebounds over 31 games for the Wolverines. Atlanta has been a special place for the Horfords, as Al won his second consecutive NCAA title with Florida here in 2007.
Since coming to the Hawks, Al has earned a spot in the NBA All-Star Game twice.
Al said this year’s tournament run for Michigan has proved ideal — except in one respect.
“It’s perfect,” he said. “I couldn’t have drawn it up any better than this. It would’ve been better if Florida and Michigan had met up here instead of the Elite Eight, but, you know, I’m happy that he’s in the championship game.”
Al did not see Michigan’s Final Four victory over Syracuse on Saturday, as he was with the Hawks in San Antonio. However, he will attend the game on Monday, as the Hawks don’t play until Wednesday in Philadelphia.
Al has shared meals with his brother in recent days.
“We honestly try to not talk about basketball,” Al said. “I’ll text him before every game, just something that I think he should look for, that he should try to do. We try to keep it away (from basketball) as much as we can and just spend family time together.
So, for one night, Al will switch roles and become like so many basketball fans.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “I’m a little nervous but just happy for him. It’s special for our family. We’ve made the most out of this, this whole week of the Final Four so we’re happy that they’re in the final.