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An Ode to Philips Arena, Our Underrated Highlight Factory

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The Atlanta Hawks are flying high these days, and four of their stars are headed to the Big Apple this weekend for NBA All-Star festivities — so this is a prime opportunity to highlight the building they play in. Philips Arena is celebrating its 15th birthday this year, and despite constant accolades — Pollstar Magazine recently named it the No. 10 arena in the world, in terms of ticket sales — it seems to perpetually fly under the radar for Atlantans. There are several possible explanations for this. Maybe it's the ongoing controversies surrounding the Falcons and the Braves stadiums, new and old. Maybe it's that whole "we lost a hockey team" thing. Maybe it's because the Hawks have always sucked.

Whatever it is, it's time to show a little love and share a few reasons why Philips Arena is awesome — and why it's Atlanta's most criminally underappreciated sports and entertainment venue.

· The word "ATLANTA" is literally built into the structure in 65-foot, metal lettering lit by fiber optics. Too bad almost no one can see that.

· At 15 years old, most of Philips still glistens, and it feels like new — unlike its older sibling and neighbor, the 22-year-old Georgia Dome.

· Even with a capacity of 18,118, there's truly not a bad seat in the house — and they're all cushioned, even in the upper deck.

· The Hawks play there, and the Hawks are responsible for the production of this video, in which dorktastic CEO Steve Koonin screams "fo' shizzle" while standing next to T.I.

· Like the Dome, it's right next to MARTA. It's also connected to the CNN Center, which has food and, most importantly, beer. Giant cups of relatively cheap beer.

· Next month, Philips will unveil a sculpture of Dominique Wilkins, the Hawks' original Human Highlight Reel. These days, Wilkins is a TV announcer with a penchant for proclaiming Hawks' victories with 8:30 left in a four-point game. "That's the nail in the coffin, folks," he might say, after a third-quarter Kyle Korver three-pointer. That's passion right there. And a packed Philips Arena gets Wilkins really, really fired up.

· There are 23 concessions stands and 26 bathrooms. Now that's an appropriate ratio.

· You don't have to watch hockey there anymore. Not like you ever really did.

· Lastly, remember this: There's no need to hide the bandwagon-ness of your Hawks fandom. No one can prove you haven't been there through the thick and thin. Because they weren't either.

— By Curbed Atlanta contributor Tyler Estep

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