Two Atlanta franchises are honoring the legacy of Hank Aaron, who died Friday at the age of 86 years old, by retiring his famous No. 44 Aaron wore during his legendary career with the Braves and Brewers. The Falcons and MLS franchise Atlanta United announced that no one on either team would wear Aaron's number for the 2021 season.
The presidents of both franchises each gave a statement in response to the decision. Falcons president and CEO Rich McKay:
"When you look at icons of Atlanta and the sport of baseball, Hank Aaron is undoubtedly included in that group. But he was more than an icon in sports, he was an icon off the field as well in how he carried himself and treated others. Because of that we are honored to celebrate his awe-inspiring life by retiring number 44 this season for our Atlanta Falcons. He was a true icon and yet when you encountered him, he always made you feel special. He was a great ambassador for the game of baseball, a great ambassador of the City of Atlanta and quite simply a great person."
Atlanta United President Darren Eales:
"To celebrate the incredible life and career of baseball legend Hank Aaron, we are proud to retire the No. 44 this season for our Atlanta United and ATL UTD 2 teams. He was an American hero, a trailblazer and arguably Atlanta's greatest sports icon. The impact he had on our city, our country and the sports world is immeasurable. Hank Aaron will undoubtedly live on through the countless lives he touched and through the young athletes across the globe who he has inspired."
Neither the Atlanta Falcons nor Atlanta United have a player that have the No. 44 on the current roster, making the decision a lot easier.