Gary Neal’s Time With The Atlanta Hawks, as told by Twitter

Mar 11, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Gary Neal (12) against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center. The Suns defeated the Timberwolves 106-97. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 11, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Gary Neal (12) against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center. The Suns defeated the Timberwolves 106-97. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The great Gary Neal‘s 10-day contract with the Atlanta Hawks has come and gone. Let us never forget this time, through Twitter’s storytelling.

Gary Neal’s 10-day contract with the Atlanta Hawks expired on January 28th, 2017. During his time, he accumulated 4 points, an assist, and a rebound. A related note: his per-36 stats from the 18th to the 28th were 8 points, 2 assists, 2 rebounds on a 100 percent  free throw percentage (8 attempts). This basically means nothing, but his story cannot be forgotten. Let’s allow Twitter to keep Gary Neal’s name alive until the end of time.

“Neal-stradamous”

@YuriyATL404 was an advocate for Neal’s signing when other fans were still breaking down Paul Millsap‘s Atlanta arrival and dissecting Dennis Schroder‘s future fit with the team. @YuriyATL404 predicted this signing nearly four years ago and deserves to be respected for his predictions.

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Washington Wizards

The Signing

On January 18th, 2017, the fate of the NBA’s history would change forever. Gary Neal, one of the league’s greatest players named Gary, was signed to a ten-day contract with the Hawks. This sentiment was not captured by people, though, as Gary Neal could not be found under Twitter’s Trending section. He was not even featured on the best Atlanta Hawks blog, Soaring Down South, as this is only the fourth Neal-related article since he became relevant.

Also, Neal was signed on a Hawks gameday.

Dec 14, 2015; Memphis, TN, USA; Washington Wizards guard Gary Neal (14) during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum. Memphis Grizzlies beats Washington Wizards 112-92. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 14, 2015; Memphis, TN, USA; Washington Wizards guard Gary Neal (14) during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum. Memphis Grizzlies beats Washington Wizards 112-92. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The Beginning

With 1:50 left in the third quarter of a 23-point blowout, Dennis Schroder came out of the game. With this, the Gary Neal Era began. A sign of new things to come for not only the Hawks but the entire United States as a country. Just over 90 seconds later, Neal found himself at the free-throw line, preparing to score his first two points as a Hawk. With the two shots both connecting, Neal had started his Atlanta time off right.

These two tweets are basically irrelevant but can be dissected to the point where they have meaning. In Neal’s 1st game, he totaled a +6 Plus/Minus, which led the Hawks. This was meaningless, as all of his minutes came during a 20-point blowout. But he was technically the best player on the court for the team, based off that single stat.

Before the Hawks’ Jan. 20th match-up against the Bulls, team writer KL Chouinard made the observation that Neal now uses the locker of 9-game Hawk Legend Ryan Kelly.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Washington Wizards

The Aftermath

Though Neal is not a Hawk anymore, his spirit lives on. In Atlanta, he was replaced by former Hawk Lamar Patterson, whose career may one day be chronicled by Twitter.

Not only was Neal re-signed by the D-League’s Texas Legends, where he played before the Hawks signed him, he was then traded to the Reno Bighorns in exchange for a 2017 4th round draft pick. This raises many questions: How many rounds does the D-League draft have? How did Texas still have rights to Neal even though he was on an NBA team? 

All in all, the Gary Neal experience was just that; an experience. His four free-throws will be remembered by only the most trivial of fans. This may be for the best. Neal may never play in another meaningful game

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