One of the greatest players in Atlanta Hawks history passed away on Friday as 69-year-old Lou Hudson succumbed to complications from a stroke, according to Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk.
The Hawks organization released a statement honoring the six-time All-Star and University of Minnesota product.
Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon discussed the everlasting impact that Hudson had on the franchise.
Lou Hudson holds a special place in the Hawks family, in the hearts of our fans and in the history of our club. 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.
Hudson averaged 20.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game over the course of his 13-year career with the Hawks and Los Angeles Lakers.
Even though he hadn't played an NBA game since 1979, many people within the world of basketball remembered Hudson fondly through social media.
Robby Kalland of Hawks.com had great things to say about Hudson as a person:
Saddened by the passing of Lou Hudson. I had the honor of talking with him at Casino Night earlier in the year. A great man and great player— Robby Kalland (@RKalland) April 11, 2014
Also, Hawks announcer Bob Rathbun marveled at the shooting ability that made Hudson such a productive player over the years:
Sad news on the passing of Hawk legend Lou Hudson. One of the greatest shooters in NBA history. More on Hawks Live and the game tonight.— Bob Rathbun (@BobRathbunTV) April 11, 2014
Hudson, who was known by many as "Sweet Lou," was named to the All-Star team every season from 1968-69 through 1973-74, and helped lead the Hawks to a division title in 1970.
He was an extremely dangerous shooter, but his numbers weren't as dominant as they potentially could have been due to the fact that he retired one year prior to the advent of the three-point line.
The Hawks franchise hasn't had a ton of success over the past few decades, but Hudson will forever be viewed as a symbol of some of the best times in the team's history.
It is unfortunate that he was never honored with a Hall of Fame election, but perhaps a posthumous induction is still possible. Hudson sadly won't be there to see it, but there is no question that he deserves to be immortalized forever.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter