St. Louis Hawks
|Team colors||Navy, Red, Silver
|General manager||Danny Ferry|
|Head coach||Mike Budenholzer|
|D-League affiliate||Bakersfield Jam|
|Conference titles||4 (Western: (4) 1957, 1958, 1960, 1961)|
|Division titles||4 (1970, 1980, 1987, 1994)|
The Atlanta Hawks are an American professional basketball team based in Atlanta, Georgia. They are part of the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). They play their home games at Philips Arena in Downtown Atlanta.
Their origins can be traced to the establishment of the Buffalo Bisons in 1946, a member of the National Basketball League. After 13 games of their inaugural season, the team moved to Moline, Illinois and became the Tri-Cities Blackhawks. In 1949, they joined the National Basketball Association (NBA) as part of the National Basketball League and the Basketball Association of America merger. In 1951, the team moved to Milwaukee, where they changed their name to the Hawks. The team moved again in 1955 to St. Louis, where they won their only NBA Championship in 1958. The Hawks moved to Atlanta in 1968, where they have been ever since.
The Hawks currently own the second-longest run (behind the Sacramento Kings) of not winning an NBA title at 54 years. All the franchise's NBA Finals appearances and lone NBA championship took place when the team resided in St. Louis. Meanwhile, since the elimination of first-round byes in 1967, they have not advanced beyond the second round in any playoff format. Much of the failure they've experienced in the postseason can be traced back to their poor history in the NBA draft. Since 1980, the Hawks have drafted only three players who have been chosen to play in an All-Star game (Doc Rivers, Kevin Willis, and Al Horford; Dominique Wilkins was actually selected by the Utah Jazz and traded to the Hawks a few months after the draft). Horford is the only All-Star Hawk to have been drafted since Willis was selected in 1984, and is also the only first-rounder the Hawks selected in their nine-year playoff drought to play in an NBA All-Star Game.
- 1 Franchise history
- 1.1 1946–1953: Buffalo, Tri-Cities & Milwaukee
- 1.2 1954–1965: Bob Pettit era
- 1.3 1965–1975: Relocation to Atlanta
- 1.4 1982–1994: The Dominique Wilkins era
- 1.5 1994–2007: Average times
- 1.6 2005–2012: The Joe Johnson era
- 1.7 2012–present: The Danny Ferry era
- 2 Season-by-season records
- 3 Home arenas
- 4 Players
- 5 Coaches
- 6 Individual awards
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
1946–1953: Buffalo, Tri-Cities & Milwaukee
The franchise of the Buffalo Bisons was formed in 1946 in the National Basketball League, playing at Buffalo Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo, New York, and featuring guard/forward and coach Deanglo King. However, on December 27, 1946—only 13 games into their inaugural season—owner Ben Kerner moved the team to Moline, Illinois, which at that time was part of an area then known as the "Tri-Cities": Moline, Rock Island, Illinois, and Davenport, Iowa. Kerner renamed the team the Tri-Cities Blackhawks in reference to the Black Hawk War that was mostly fought in Illinois.
In 1949 the Blackhawks became one of the National Basketball Association's 17 original teams after a merger of the 12-year-old NBL and the three-year-old Basketball Association of America. They reached the playoffs in the NBA's inaugural year under the leadership of coach Red Auerbach, playing in Moline's Wharton Fieldhouse. The following season, they drafted three-time All-American Bob Cousy, but they were unable to reach a deal and traded him to the Chicago Stags (who would later surrender him in a dispersal draft to the Boston Celtics when the Stags folded). The Blackhawks finished last in the Western Division and missed the playoffs. By then, it was obvious that the Tri-Cities area was too small to support an NBA team. After the season, the franchise relocated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and became the Milwaukee Hawks.
1954–1965: Bob Pettit era
In 1954, the Hawks drafted Bob Pettit, a future NBA MVP. Despite this, the Hawks were one of the league's worst teams, and in 1955 the Hawks moved yet again, this time to St. Louis, Missouri, Milwaukee's rival in the beer industry, and became the St. Louis Hawks.
In 1957, the Hawks advanced to the Finals, losing to the Boston Celtics in a double-overtime thriller in game seven. In 1958, they again advanced to the Finals, where they avenged their defeat against the Celtics from the previous year, winning the series 4–2 and giving the Hawks their first and only NBA Championship. Bob Pettit scored 50 points in the final game of the series.
The Hawks remained one of the NBA's premier teams for the next decade. In 1960, under coach Ed Macauley, the team advanced to the Finals, but lost to the Celtics in another game seven thriller. The following year, with the acquisition of rookie Lenny Wilkens, the Hawks repeated their success, but met the Celtics in the Finals again and lost in five games. They would remain contenders for most of the 1960s, advancing deep into the playoffs and also capturing several division titles.
1965–1975: Relocation to Atlanta
Despite the success, Kerner became wary of the Hawks' longtime home, Kiel Auditorium. The 33-year-old arena seated only 10,000 people and was starting to show its age. The Hawks occasionally played at the larger St. Louis Arena, mostly against popular opponents, but Kerner was not willing to move the team there full-time because it had not been well-maintained since the 1940s, and the arrival of the NHL's Blues in 1967 precluded a full-time move there. He wanted a new arena to increase revenue. However, Kerner was rebuffed by the city on several occasions.
Unable to resolve the arena situation, Kerner sold the Hawks to Atlanta real estate developer Tom Cousins and former Georgia governor Carl Sanders, who moved the team to Atlanta in 1968. While a new arena was being constructed, the team spent its first four seasons playing in Georgia Tech's Alexander Memorial Coliseum, winning their first Division title in the 1969–70 season with a 48–34 record in the Western Division. Cousins' firm soon developed the Omni Coliseum, a 16,500-seat, state-of-the-art downtown Atlanta arena, for the Hawks and the expansion Atlanta Flames hockey franchise, which opened in 1972 as the first phase of a massive sports, office, hotel and retail complex, most of which is now the CNN Center. Also in 1972, the Hawks debuted a new logo and new colors, trading the green and blue color scheme that the team had used for two years, in favor of white, gold, and red, the same colors the Flames used. The hawk head silhouette inside a circle remained as the team's logo, albeit simplified.
The years after the move showcased a talented Hawks team, including Pete Maravich and Lou Hudson. However, after this period of success, the team experienced some years of rebuilding. Despite appearing to be moving in the right direction when they ended up with the 1st and 3rd picks overall in the 1975 NBA draft, the players drafted with those two picks, David Thompson of North Carolina State and Marvin Webster of Morgan State, both signed with the Denver Nuggets of the American Basketball Association and never played for the Hawks.
Ted Turner's ownership
Cable network entrepreneur and Atlanta Braves owner Ted Turner bought the team in 1977 and hired Hubie Brown to become head coach. The Hawks were the only NBA team in the Southeastern United States, just as the Atlanta Braves were the only Major League Baseball team in the region for many years to come. Turner's ownership was instrumental in keeping both teams in the region. Coach Brown won coach of the year in 1978. In the 1979–80 season, the Hawks finished with a 50-32 record and won the Central Division. It was their first division title in the Central Division and second in the city of Atlanta.
1982–1994: The Dominique Wilkins era
In 1982, the franchise acquired superstar Dominique Wilkins and promoted Mike Fratello to head coach a year later. Due to sagging attendance, 12 home games during the 1984–85 season were played at the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana. The New Orleans games were paid for by Barry Mendelson for $1.2 million with the Hawks going 6–6 in Louisiana. Dominique Wilkins won the Slam Dunk Contest in 1985 and 1990, engaging in an iconic rivalry with Michael Jordan. Spud Webb won the Slam Dunk Contest and Fratello won the Coach of the Year Award in 1986.
From 1985 to 1989, the Hawks were among the league's elite, winning 50 games or more each season. They won a division title in 1986–87 with a franchise record 57–25. However, the team could not advance past the semifinals of the Eastern Conference playoffs, losing to the eventual Eastern Conference (and in some years, NBA champions) Boston and Detroit. The Hawks drafted Stacey Augmon with their tenth overall pick in the 1991 NBA draft, who would make the NBA Rookie First Team. However, Wilkins had a season-ending injury in the middle of the season, and without him, the Hawks were unable to make it to the playoffs. In 1992, the Hawks acquired guard Mookie Blaylock from the New Jersey Nets; he would spend seven years of his career as a Hawk, leading them in career steals and three-point field goals while earning an All-Star appearance in 1994. After seasons of mediocrity, Lenny Wilkens was hired as head coach in 1993. In 1993–94, the Hawks won 57 games, tying a team record. They also won a fourth division title in Atlanta, and third in the Central Division. Coach Wilkens was named Coach of the Year for his work with the team. However, the team fell short again in the playoffs, losing to the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern semis in six games. The season was also marred by the trading of Dominique Wilkins, who remains the franchise all-time leading scorer, to the Los Angeles Clippers for Danny Manning, who quickly left via free agency to Phoenix after the season ended.
1994–2007: Average times
In November 1994, the Hawks traded All-Star forward Kevin Willis to the Miami Heat for Steve Smith, and Grant Long. During the 1995 season, coach Wilkens broke the record (previously held by coach Red Auerbach) for most victories by an NBA head coach with victory number 939. They ended up fifth in the Central Division with a 42–40 record, they would be swept by the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the playoffs. The Hawks finished the 1995–96 season with a 46–36 record, fourth in the Central Division. During regular season, they acquired Christian Laettner from the Minnesota Timberwolves, Laettner would get an All-Star appearance in 1997. They upset the Pacers in the first round in five games, however lost in five games to the Orlando Magic in the semifinals.
The Hawks had two 50+ win seasons in 1996–97 (56–26) and 1997–98 (50–32), with center Dikembe Mutombo winning defensive player of the year award back to back. The Hawks defeated the Detroit Pistons in five games in the first round of the 1997 NBA Playoffs, but lost in five games in the second round to the defending champs Chicago Bulls. In 1997–98, forward Alan Henderson won Most Improved Player award. However, the Hawks would lose in four games in the first round of the playoffs to the Charlotte Hornets. The Hawks would end up with a 31-win campaign in the lockout-shortened 1998–99 season. In the quarterfinals, they would defeat the Pistons in five games again, but they never advanced past the second round of the playoffs, as they were swept by the New York Knicks.
In 1999, the Hawks traded Steve Smith and Ed Gray to Portland for Isaiah Rider and Jim Jackson, and sent Mookie Blaylock and a first round draft pick to the Golden State Warriors for Bimbo Coles, Duane Ferrell (who used to play for Atlanta, was waived nearly two months later), and a first round draft pick. Smith and Blaylock had been one of the Hawks' most popular players during the 1990s, and Smith had recently been awarded the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for his charitable endeavors, as well as being selected in the 1998 NBA All-Star Game. By contrast, Rider had a history of behavioral problems both on and off the court. Rider's troubled conduct continued after his arrival in Atlanta. Rider missed the first day of training camp and was late for two games. After reports that he smoked marijuana in an Orlando hotel room during a January road trip, the league demanded that he attend drug counseling, and fined him a total of $200,000 until he agreed to go. When he showed up late for a March game, the Hawks released him. The Hawks later traded Jackson away to the Cleveland Cavaliers the following season, and Coles joined the Cavaliers during off-season before Jackson was traded. The Smith/Rider trade sent the Hawks into a downward spiral as they finished the season with a 28–54 record; they would not return to the playoffs for eight years.
Point guard Jason Terry became the team's scoring leader during the 2000–01 season, leading them with 19.7 ppg. After All-Star break, the Hawks traded Mutombo to the Philadelphia 76ers for Theo Ratliff (who did not play for the rest of the season, because of injuries), Toni Kukoc, and Nazr Mohammed. The Hawks became worst as they ended the season with a 25–57 record. In 2001, the Hawks drafted Spanish star Pau Gasol 3rd, but his rights were ceded to the Memphis Grizzlies in a trade involving Shareef Abdur-Rahim. Abdur-Rahim became the team's scoring leader, and made his only All-Star appearance in 2002. The team ended up 33–49 for the 2001–02 season. The Hawks sent Kukoc to the Milwaukee Bucks for All-Star Glenn Robinson in 2002, Robinson lead the team with 20.8 ppg. But the Hawks still failed to advance the playoffs for the 2002–03 season, finishing with a 35–47 record.
In February 2004, the Hawks had the distinction of having NBA All-Star Rasheed Wallace play one game for the team. Wallace was traded from Portland to the Hawks along with Wesley Person for Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Theo Ratliff, and Dan Dickau. In his lone game for the Hawks, Wallace scored 20 points, had 6 rebounds, 5 blocks, 2 assists and a steal in a loss to the New Jersey Nets. After the game he was dealt to the Detroit Pistons in a three-way trade with the Boston Celtics. In turn, Detroit sent guard Bob Sura, center Zeljko Rebraca, and a first-round draft pick to the Hawks. The Boston Celtics also sent forward Chris Mills to Atlanta to complete the deal, but Mills never had a chance to play in a Hawks uniform. The Hawks ended their 2003–04 season with a 28–54 record. In 2003, Atlanta hosted the allstar game, the last an East team would host for nine years.
Atlanta Spirit LLC's ownership
In March 2004, the team was sold to a group of executives by the name of Atlanta Spirit LLC by Time Warner (who inherited the Hawks and Braves upon its merger with Turner Broadcasting in 1996), along with the Atlanta Thrashers pro ice hockey team (now the Winnipeg Jets), with which the Hawks shared the Philips Arena, which replaced the Omni. During the offseason, the Hawks sent Jason Terry, Alan Henderson, and a future first round draft pick to the Dallas Mavericks for Antoine Walker and Tony Delk. After the change in ownership, the Hawks still struggled. In the 2004–05 season, the Hawks were the league's worst team with a mere 13 victories (five fewer than even the expansion Charlotte Bobcats and the struggling New Orleans Hornets). It was also the year Josh Smith won the 2005 Slam Dunk Contest.
Despite their league-worst record, the Hawks only landed the number two pick in the 2005 NBA draft lottery (the first pick went to the Milwaukee Bucks). With the second pick, the Hawks selected Marvin Williams of the University of North Carolina. The previous year, the Hawks had drafted Josh Childress and Josh Smith. In the 2006 draft, the Hawks selected former Duke star Shelden Williams with the fifth overall pick.
2005–2012: The Joe Johnson era
In the summer of 2005, the Hawks completed a sign and trade deal with the Phoenix Suns to acquire Joe Johnson in return for Boris Diaw and two future 1st round picks. They also signed Zaza Pachulia from the Milwaukee Bucks. These changes occurred after an apparent power struggle between the owners for nearly three weeks before the moves were made.
Hope and redemption appeared to be on the horizon for the Hawks beginning in 2007. With the third pick of the NBA draft, they selected Al Horford. Horford nearly averaged a double-double during his rookie season, and is the only unanimous selection to the All-Rookie First Team as well as being runner-up for Rookie of the Year honors. The season started with a victory against the Dallas Mavericks 101–94, sending hope to Hawks fans. The last time they won a season opener was in 1998, also the last time they made the playoffs. For the 2007–08 season, the Atlanta Hawks updated the colors and uniforms to navy blue, red, and white, marking the first time since the days in St. Louis that they had used those colors.
A midseason trade for point guard Mike Bibby boosted the Hawks' playoff hopes. At the time of the trade the Hawks were 22–28, afterwards they won 15 of their last 32 games to finish 37–45. Although they finished with a losing record, they managed to make the playoffs for the first time since 1999. In the playoffs the Hawks started to show improvement, pushing the eventual NBA Champions, Boston Celtics, to a Game 7 before losing in a blowout in Boston. The Hawks won all three games at Philips Arena, which hosted its first playoff games and earned its first sellout.
The 2008–09 season saw the Hawks win 47 games, their first winning season since 1999. With almost an intact lineup from the previous year the Hawks manage to take a step forward in their development. Again they were pushed to a Game 7 in the first round but capitalized on home-court advantage earning their first playoff series win since 1999 against the Miami Heat. The Hawks were swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers 4–0 in the Conference Semifinals.
The 2009–10 season saw the Hawks improve further, winning 53 games, their first 50-win season since 1997–98. Al Horford earned his first All-Star selection, and along with Joe Johnson, this marked the first time since 1998 that the Hawks sent two players to the All-Star Game. The playoffs, however, were a reprise from the previous year. They won a hard-fought seven-game series against the Milwaukee Bucks, but they were swept by the Orlando Magic in the second round, with every game a one-sided contest. After the season, the Hawks dismissed head coach Mike Woodson and was replaced by Larry Drew.
The Hawks took a step back in the 2010–11 season, finishing with 44 wins, even though Horford and Johnson were named to the All-Star team. In midseason the Hawks traded Mike Bibby to the Washington Wizards for Kirk Hinrich, in hopes of bringing a defensive guard to replace the defensively liable Bibby. The Hawks finished the season losing their final six games. In the playoffs the Hawks beat the Magic in six games; however, they subsequently lost to the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in six games.
In December 2011, The Hawks signed Tracy McGrady, Jerry Stackhouse, Jason Collins, Vladimir Radmanovic, Jannero Pargo, and Willie Green. They also picked up rookies Donald Sloan and 27-year-old Ivan Johnson. Sloan was waived a month later.
The Hawks finshed the 2011–12 season with the third best record in the Eastern Conference with 40 wins, clinching the playoffs for the fifth straight season. However, the Hawks would be eliminated in the first round by the Boston Celtics in six games, ending the Hawks' three-year streak of advancing to the second round.
2012–present: The Danny Ferry era
On June 25, 2012, the Hawks hired San Antonio Spurs Vice President of Basketball Operations Danny Ferry as President of Basketball Operations and General Manager. During the 2012 NBA draft, the Hawks chose guard John Jenkins with the twenty-third pick and power forward Mike Scott with the forty-third pick. On July 2, 2012, the Hawks traded leading scorer and All-Star Joe Johnson to the Brooklyn Nets for Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow, DeShawn Stevenson, Jordan Williams and Johan Petro, as well as a 2013 first round pick. That same day, the Hawks traded small forward Marvin Williams to the Utah Jazz for point guard Devin Harris.
On February 21, 2013, the Hawks traded Anthony Morrow to the Dallas Mavericks for Dahntay Jones. That same day, the Hawks traded a future second round pick to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for Jeremy Tyler, who was waived 15 days later.
The Hawks ended the 2012-13 season with a 44-38 record, making a playoff appearance for the sixth straight season. However, they were eliminated by the Indiana Pacers in six games in the first round.
The Hawks entered the 2013 NBA draft with four draft picks. They drafted point guards Dennis Schröder (17th pick) and Shane Larkin (18th pick). They also chose point guard Raulzinho Neto with the forty-seventh pick and small forward James Ennis with the fiftieth pick. However, the Hawks traded Larkin to the Dallas Mavericks for the draft rights of Mike Muscala and Lucas Nogueira (originally drafted by the Boston Celtics), as well as guard Jared Cunningham. They also traded Ennis's draft rights to the Miami Heat and Neto's to the Utah Jazz for a future second-round pick.
The 2013 free agency period marked the end of the Josh Smith era for Atlanta, with the Hawks signing power forward Paul Millsap to a two-year, $19 million deal and Smith choosing to sign a contract with the Detroit Pistons. Longtime Hawk Zaza Pachulia also moved on and signed with the Milwaukee Bucks. The Hawks brought back Kyle Korver with a four-year, $24 million deal. On December 26, 2013, Horford tore his right pectoral muscle, and on December 30, the Hawks announced that he would undergo surgery the next day and will miss the rest of season.
- Wharton Field House 1946–51
- Milwaukee Arena 1951–55
- Kiel Auditorium 1955–68 (Occasionally used the St. Louis Arena)
- Alexander Memorial Coliseum 1968–72
- The Omni 1972–97
- Lakefront Arena 1984–85
- Georgia Dome and Alexander Memorial Coliseum, 1997–99 (Hawks alternated between these two venues while new arena was under construction; The Omni was demolished in the summer of 1997)
- Philips Arena 1999–present
Atlanta Hawks roster
|Atlanta Hawks retired numbers|
|17||Ted Turner||Former owner||1977–2004|
|23||Lou Hudson||F, G||1966–77|
Hawks Basketball Hall of Famers
Hagan, Pettit, Macauley, Lenny Wilkens, and Bob Ferry, all of whom played for the Hawks in St. Louis, have been inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
|G/F||Alain Digbeu||1997 NBA draft||49th pick|
|G/F||Cenk Akyol||2005 NBA draft||59th pick|
|G||Sergiy Gladyr||2009 NBA draft||49th pick|
- Bob Pettit – 1956, 1959
- Dikembe Mutombo – 1997, 1998
- Bob Pettit – 1955
- Alan Henderson – 1998
- Jamal Crawford – 2010
- Harry Gallatin – 1963
- Richie Guerin – 1968
- Hubie Brown – 1978
- Mike Fratello – 1986
- Lenny Wilkens – 1994
- Stan Kasten – 1986, 1987
- Frank Brian – 1951
- Slater Martin – 1957, 1958, 1959
- Cliff Hagan – 1958, 1959
- Bob Pettit – 1965
- Lou Hudson – 1970
- Pete Maravich – 1973
- Dan Roundfield – 1980
- Dominique Wilkins – 1987, 1988, 1991, 1993
- Dikembe Mutombo – 2001
- Dan Roundfield – 1980, 1982, 1983
- Wayne Rollins – 1984
- Mookie Blaylock – 1994, 1995
- Dikembe Mutombo – 1997, 1998
- Bill Bridges – 1969, 1970
- Joe Caldwell – 1970
- "Fast Eddie" Johnson – 1979, 1980
- Dan Roundfield – 1981, 1984
- Wayne Rollins – 1983
- Mookie Blaylock – 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999
- Dikembe Mutombo – 1999
- Josh Smith – 2010
- Zelmo Beaty – 1963
- Lou Hudson – 1968
- Pete Maravich – 1971
- John Brown – 1974
- John Drew – 1975
- Dominique Wilkins – 1983
- Stacey Augmon – 1992
- Al Horford – 2008
- "Franchise History | The Official Site Of The Atlanta Hawks". Nba.com. Retrieved 2013-06-11.
- "A Franchise Rich With Tradition: From Pettit To "Pistol Pete" To The "Human Highlight Film"". NBA.com. Archived from the original on April 6, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-28.
- Archive for August 4, 2000Las Vegas Sun
- "Blazers trade Wallace to Hawks". Canada: CBC. 2004-02-11. Retrieved 2008-02-21.
- "Atlanta at New Jersey". NBA.com. 2004-02-18. Retrieved 2008-02-21.
- "Wallace lands in Detroit in three-team deal". ESPN. 2004-02-20. Retrieved 2008-02-21.
- [dead link]
- HAWKS: Hawks Ownership Dispute Resolved
- Mathis, George (2011-08-02). "Report: Atlanta Hawks, Philips Arena sold". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 2011-08-11.
- "Alex Meruelo has agreement to purchase Atlanta Hawks". USA Today. Associated Press. 2011-08-08. Retrieved 2011-08-11.
- HAWKS: Hawks and Meruelo Terminate Agreement
- "Hawks Lose Lou Williams For The Season « NBA.com | Hang Time Blog". Hangtime.blogs.nba.com. 2013-01-19. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
- "Transactions: 2012-13 season". NBA.com. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
- Hawks' Horford to have season-ending surgery
- Ted Turner's 17 stands for his television station Atlanta's Channel 17, WTBS (now WPCH)
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