The Teams: The Hawks
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What team drafted both Bob Cousey and Bill Russell? If you said the Boston Celtics you would be completely wrong, it was the Atlanta Hawks, or should I say the Tri-City Blackhawks.
The Atlanta Hawks, one of the original teams to join the NBA and did so in 1946.
The Hawks relocated to Atlanta in 1968 after spending time in St Louis(55-68), Milwaukee(51-55), Tri-cities(47-51), and Buffalo(46-47).
They have made the NBA finals a total of four times, but won their only title in 1958 after beating the Boston Celtics.
Drafting, than trading both Cousey and Russell is nothing new for the Hawks franchise, they have been one of the poorest drafting teams in NBA history. The Hawks have drafted only a handful of players that have gone on to be all-stars with the Hawks, the most notable being Bob Petit, Lou Hudson, and Pete Maravich. The other great Hawk, Dominique Wilkins was selected in 1983 by the Utah Jazz before being traded to Atlanta.
The Hawks had their best years in the late 50s and 60s, where from 56-61 they would make the NBA finals four times and they would make the division finals 13 times from 55-70. After those years it became a dark time for the Hawks, they have yet to return to the conference finals. The Hawks are also one of only eight NBA teams never to have a 60 win season, the other being recent expansion teams Charlotte, New Orleans, Memphis, Toronto, Minnesota, Cleveland, New Jersey, and Denver.
10 players who have played for the Hawks have made the Basketball hall-of-game, they include Petit, Maravich, and Wilkins, they also include other basketball greats such as Moses Malone, Cliff Hagen, Walt Bellamy, Connie Hawkins, Bob Houbregs, Ed Macauley, and Lenny Wilkens who is in there both as a player and a coach.
In recent years the Hawks have seen struggles both on and off the court. Since the shortened lockout year of 1998-99 the Hawks haven’t had a winning season once, they best record during that time was 35-47 in 2002-03. Off the court the Hawks have seen management issues, including the recent purchase of the team which has lead to many internal conflicts, and the team has seen tragedies involving its players. The first tragedy occurred in 2002 when guard DeMarr Johnson was involved in a series auto accident which left him sidelined for the entire season, than in 2005 center Jason Collier suddenly died because of an enlarged Heart. His death struck the Hawks and the entire NBA by surprise, and it lead to better testing for heart irregularities in the NBA.