Raised by two military vets who served the United States Armed Forces for more than 42 years combined (mother Lyria Rising-Collins served more than 22 years in the Air Force and father John Collins Jr. served 20 in the Navy) and having moved multiple times while growing up, 24-year-old forward/center Hawks star John Collins announced plans to honor veterans of the military this season plans by hosting 800 local veterans at 20 Hawks games in the new Baptist Battalion section at State Farm Arena. Forty veterans from the greater Atlanta area will attend each of the 20 games and receive complimentary tickets, transportation as and a signature shirt from Collins’ The Baptist Collection clothing brand. Sharecare, the team’s official jersey patch partner, partnered with Collins to provide the necessary resources to honor these service members from local veteran organizations as well as nearby military bases. The Baptist Battalion will seat the first 40 veterans on Monday, Nov. 15, when the Hawks take on the Orlando Magic.
“I have seen the sacrifice our veterans make on a daily basis and it’s important to me to do what I can to make sure they know their service is appreciated,” Collins said. “I’m honored to be able to thank them in this small way for all they have done and continue to do for our country.”
Collins is a former recipient of the Jason Collier Memorial Trophy (2019-20 season), which is earned annually by the Hawks player who most closely exemplifies the characteristics of a community ambassador like Collier, the late Atlanta Hawks center who passed away in 2005. Collins also was honored in May 2021 as the inaugural winner of the 2020-21 Sekou Smith Award, which annually honors the player on the team’s roster who best represents themselves and the franchise with professionalism and integrity in their interactions with the media.