Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta Hawks is one of the popular names in the history of Atlanta sports, particularly in the National Basketball Association (NBA).  It is an Atlanta-based NBA team that has been playing for championships and has garnered several titles for their excellence. 

The Atlanta Hawks franchise was first formed in 1946 as the Tri-City Blackhawks of the National Basketball League.  This name was after its being based in the tri-city area between Moline, Illinois, Rock Island, Illinois, and Davenport, Iowa.   The team reached the playoffs in the NBA’s inaugural year the time when the NBL merged with the Basketball Association of America to form the NBA.  And, that time the Blackhawks led by coach Red Auerbach had a very successful year.

In 1951, the Atlanta Hawks moved to Milwaukee and it there where they became the Hawks.  It was in the 1953 when the Atlanta Hawks drafted Bob Pettit, who is a future NBA MVP.  In spite of this, the Hawks were one of the league’s worst team, and it was in the year 1955 when they relocated again, this time to St. Louis, Missouri.

In the new location, the Atlanta Hawks acquired several titles in the draft and free agency, making them one of the league’s top teams.  They advanced to the NBA finals in 1957, but they lose their title on that game against the Boston Celtics.   Again, in 1958, the team advanced to the NBA finals under the coaching of Alex Hannum, and it was that time when they captured their only NBA Championship in game 6 against the Celtics.

For the next decade, the Hawks remained one of NBA’s premier teams, and in 1960, under the coaching of Ed Macauley, they advanced to the Finals yet again, but lost again to the Celtics in another game seven thriller.  However, the following year saw the rise of the Atlanta Hawks again when they acquired the rookie Lenny Wilkens, but still they met the Celtics in the Finals again and lost in five games.

Following their rise and fall was the years when the Atlanta Hawks remained contenders, every year advancing deep into the playoffs and also garnering a number of division titles.  In 1968, under the management of new owners Thomas Cousins and Carl Sanders, the team moved to Atlanta, Georgia.   They won a division championship and advanced to the Finals again, but after this period of success, they experienced a few years of rebuilding.  It is worth noting that the team had all losing records in those years and never advanced past the first round of the playoffs.

In 1977, the franchise was bought by Ted Turner, the Atlanta Braves owner, and it was him who hired Hubie Brown as the head coach.   They finished with 50 wins and won the Central Division in 1979, and in 1982 they franchise acquired superstar Dominique Wilkins.  With Wilkins in the team, the Atlanta Hawks had acquired more than 50 victories in the next four seasons.  Lenny Wilkens was hired as a coach in 1993 and it was from that year until 1994 that the team finished 57 victories, which is a team record.  This record was broken in 1995 when the team led by Wilkens acquired the victory number 939.

In recent years, the Atlanta Hawks has struggled, yet becoming one of the league’s worst teams.  It was sold to a group of executives by the name Atlanta Spirit LLC by Time Warner with which the Hawks share the Philips arena.  After the change in ownership, the Atlanta Hawks continued to struggle and that remains until now.

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