We were all so young back in the heady days of 2015, when love seemed to blossom out of thin air and life was an endless string of potential meet cutes. Even the Atlanta Hawks got in on the act, hosting a Tinder night where you could watch Paul Milsap and Al Horford lead the Hawks on their way to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Things are different now. The Hawks are bereft, their fans left warning other teams’ fans about the perils of believing in much of anything. Each day ushers in a world further consumed by fire, and we’re all dragging our ever-heavier husks through the cold months of 2018 just trying to get to a tomorrow that might be a bit darker than the one before it.
But the Hawks still want to prove that love is real and possible, and they’re ready to shine a light in this weary world thanks to that Tinder event they held years ago. As it turns out, a couple that met at the event in 2015 stuck it out and are even getting married, and the Hawks are not only hosting the wedding, they’re paying for the whole shebang.
ESPN love correspondent Darren Rovell wrote about the nuptials on Wednesday and detailed how the team is helping the happy couple — Ben McCleskey and Avery Armstrong — share their love with 200 of their closest friends and family members. The couple plans to get married at center court between two Hawks home dates, with a reception held at the arena’s courtside club.
Ben McCleskey and Avery Armstrong, who had their first date at the team’s “Swipe Right Night” in 2015 are getting married on March 3 and the Hawks are not only taking care of the bill, but are hosting the celebration.
“Not in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen,” said Atlanta Hawks chief executive officer Steve Koonin. It was Koonin who, on the team’s next Tinder Night in 2016, was updated on the couple’s status and said should the two decide to seal the deal, it would be on the Hawks.
On Nov. 19, McCleskey popped the question and Armstrong said yes. The two got in touch with the team and the March date, in between two Hawks home games, was set.
The team is even getting wedding dresses through sponsor David’s Bridal for the bride, flower girl, her mother, and her 11 bridesmaids. That’s very nice of them, especially considering that’s, like, six bridesmaids too many. But enough about that: let’s hear from the happy groom about what should be the wedding of the year.
“I always joked with my buddies that I would get married at the 50-yard line of the Georgia Dome,” McCleskey told ESPN in what is 100 percent a reference to ‘What’s Your Fantasy?’ by Ludacris. “Now that that’s not in use any more, this is pretty much the equivalent.”
Congratulations to the happy couple, and to the Hawks on what’s shaping up to be some excellent brand synergy. Maybe surprise them with Luda for the reception music, guys. I know the groom would really dig it.