The Atlanta Hawks is a professional basketball team in the NBA. They are included in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference.
They were the home of some former famous NBA All-Stars and Hall-of-Famers like Dominique Wilkins, Dikembe Mutombo, Moses Malone, Pete Maravich, Bob Pettit, Lenny Wilkens and Bob Houbregs.
Franchise History – Early Years
The Atlanta Hawks were formerly known as the Buffalo Bisons. The Bisons were formed in 1946 and they are playing at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium in New York.
They renamed the team toTri-Cities Blackhawks only after 13 games in their first season. The Blackhawks is one of the NBA’s 17 original teams.
They reached the playoffs in the first season under Red Auerbach. The next season, after the drafting of Bob Cousy who later on went to Boston Celtics, they failed to reached the postseason.
In the year 1951, the franchise tranferred to Milwaukee, Wisconsin as they became the Milwaukee Hawks. They drafted Bob Pettit in 1953. Despite drafting the future NBA MVP, the Hawks finished as one of the worst team in the league. They moved again to another city in 1955, in St. Louis, Missouri.
The Hawks reached the Finals in 1957 against the Boston Celtics. They lost in seven games with an epic double overtime loss in the seventh game. The next year, they reached the Finals and faced the Boston Celtics again. They finished the series 4-2 over the Celtics as Bob Cousy scored 60 points in game 6. This was their first and only NBA Title.
The Hawks were consistent to be an elite team in the NBA for the next decade including another NBA Final appearance in 1960. They again faced the Boston Celtics but lost to them in game 7. In 1961, they acquired Hall-of-Famer Lenny Wilkens. They advanced to the Finals again but lost to the Celtics again in 5 games. The next years, they remained as playoff contender and division title holders.
In 1968, the Hawks relocated in Atlanta as the franchise were sold to an Atlanta real estate developer Tom Cousins and Carl Sanders. They won their first division title in 1969-70 season with a 48-34 record. Years after they moved, they showcased their team’s skills including Pete Maravich and Lou Hudson. After the era of success, they have gotten to their rebuilding years.
As the Atlanta Braves bought the franchise, they hired Hubie Brown to coach to the team. Brown was the Coach of the Year in 1978. As they finished the 1979-80 season, they had a 52-30 record and won the Central Division title.
In 1982, they got the superstar Dominique Wilkins and promoted Mike Fratello to be the head coach. In 1985, Dominique Wilkins won the Slam Dunk Contest, and the next year, it was Hawk’s Spud Webb who won the 1986 Slam Dunk Contest. In 1986, Fratello won the Coach of the Year.