ATLANTA — Atlanta United and the Atlanta Falcons Friday announced both franchises will retire the No. 44 for the 2021 MLS and NFL seasons in honor of Henry “Hank” Aaron.
Aaron passed away Friday at the age of 86.
“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 ATLUTD 2 teams,” Atlanta United president Darren Eales said in a statement. “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.”
A former Atlanta Brave, Aaron is best known for breaking Babe Ruth’s career home run record in 1974. He also was a commensurate player, earning 25 all-star selections.
“When you look at icons of Atlanta and the sport of baseball, Hank Aaron is undoubtedly included in that group,” Falcons president and CEO Rich McKay said in a statement. “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 No. 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.”