Price to be inducted into Atlanta Sports HOF

Photo: Andrew McMurtrie. Mark Price was a standout basketball player for Georgia Tech and the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers. Price, who now runs camps at Suwanee Sports Academy, will be inducted into the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday.

Photo: Andrew McMurtrie. Mark Price was a standout basketball player for Georgia Tech and the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers. Price, who now runs camps at Suwanee Sports Academy, will be inducted into the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday.

For a kid growing up in Oklahoma, Mark Price was enticed by the big city feel of Atlanta in the early 1980s.

Price visited Atlanta when he went on a recruiting trip to Georgia Tech. He fell in love with the school and the city.

Nearly 30 years later, Price still calls Atlanta home.

The former Tech standout and NBA All-Star will be recognized by his second home Saturday. Price, who lives in Duluth, is one of three athletes to be inducted into the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame.

“I guess with me not being an original Atlantan and coming from Oklahoma, but since my days at Georgia Tech, Atlanta has been like my second home,” Price said. “I set roots down here when I stopped playing.”

Price will be inducted Saturday at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center. He will be joined by All-Pro Atlanta Falcons linebacker Jesse Tuggle and founder of the Peachtree Road Race, Tim Singleton.

“Mark is probably considered one of the best basketball players along with Roger Kaiser from Tech,” Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame founder Larry Winter said. “He spent his entire career at Tech and was one of the first recruits by Bobby Cremins.”

Although Price is not from Atlanta, he still meets the hall of fame’s criteria, which includes playing at least four years in the Atlanta area.

“The best explanation I like to give is if you developed your skills here or you highlighted your skills here, then you are eligible,” Winter said.

It has been 13 years since Price last played in the NBA, but the former Cleveland Cavaliers star is still actively involved in the sport. He spends less time on the court knocking down shots that made him an all-star and more time teaching fundamentals of a great shot.

For the last five years Price has been involved with Suwanee Sports Academy where he runs a youth summer camp and the Mark Price Shooting Lab. In the shooting lab, Price works with NBA players in a 5,000-square-foot court that’s designed specifically for specialized shot instruction.

“The art of shooting has ultimately gotten to a certain level,” Price said. “They know they have to improve their shooting to get to the next level. They like coming here.”

Price has trained more than 25 NBA players over the last five years, including the Atlanta Hawks’ Al Horford, South Gwinnett grad and Philadelphia 76ers’ Lou Williams, the Boston Celtics’ Rajon Rondo and former Georgia Tech player and 76er Thadeus Young.

Price has also spent time as the shooting coach for Denver, Memphis, Atlanta and Golden State in recent years.

“I’ve developed a reputation over the years as someone that can help guys,” Price said.

Price certainly has the credentials. He was at two-time All-American at Tech and led the Yellow Jackets to the ACC championships. Price played 12 years in the NBA, including nine with the Cavaliers. Price was a four-time all-star and was a member of the Dream Team II, which won the FIBA World Championship. His 90.4 percent career free throw shooting is second all-time in NBA history.

The Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame induction is another prestigious recognition for Price. He’s been inducted into the Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame, Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. The basketball arena in his hometown of Enid, Okla., was named in his honor and the Cavaliers retried his No. 25 jersey.

“To be in the Atlanta Hall of Fame is a great honor,” Price said. “There’s not a lot of Georgia Tech guys in there, so I’m in pretty elite company.”

While at Georgia Tech, Price met his wife Laura, a Duluth grad. After college the couple called Atlanta home despite Price playing most of his NBA career in Cleveland.

“Ever since college, Atlanta has pretty much been home,” Price said.

Price is a Duluth resident now and two of his four children have graduated from Wesleyan, a Norcross private school. His oldest daughter Brittany is a sophomore at Baylor and Caroline signed a tennis scholarship to North Carolina. Price’s oldest son Hudson is a 6-foot-5, 200-pound junior basketball player at Wesleyan and Josh is a sixth-grader.

Price has firmly planted his roots in Atlanta, making the city no longer just a second home.

“When I came from Oklahoma back in 1982, I thought (Atlanta) would be a place I would spend the next four or five years,” Price said. “Looking back on that, one of the reasons I chose Georgia Tech is because I fell in love with Atlanta and the whole environment. It’s been a great place. Not only for me, but my family to raise our kids.”