Atlanta Hawks History|
The Hawks begain as the as the Buffalo Bison in 1946-47, as part of the NBL(National Basketball league). after just one season the Bison moved to Tri-City and become the Blackhawks. named after the Blackhawk wars fought in the midwest in the mid 1800s. in 1959-50 the Blackhawks and 10 other NBL teams joined with the BAA (Basketball Association of America) to form the NBA(National Basketball Association).
The Team lasted two years in Tri-City after the murger, and then where forced to move to Milwaukee in 1951. Once moving to Milwaukee the team become known simply as the Hawks. the first three years in Milwaukee where not good ones. the team struggled, and in 1954 the team drafted Bob Pettit.
The team improved but was still deadlast in the Western Division.
The Next season the Hawks moved to St. Louis, where they become an instant success under Pettit. Pettit would win MVP honors in 1955-56, and the Hawks tied with the Lakers for second place in the Western Division. The Lakers won the best one of tie breaker to officaly take second place. The two teams met in the playoffs, and the Hawks won 2 of 3 to advance to play the Fort Wayne Pistons who beat the Hawks 3-1 to go onto the NBA finals
The Hawks had the 2nd pick in the 1956 draft, and took a 6'8 center out of San Franciso, named Bill Russell. the Hawks them promptly traded Russell to the Celtics for Ed Macauley, and Cliff Hagan. both players would go onto decent carrers for the Hawks, but nothing like Russell did for the Celtics.
in the 1957 playoffs the Hawks, the Pistons, and the Lakers would all finish with identical 34-38 records. the Hawks would win both single game playoffs and advance to face the Lakers in the second round of the Playoffs(Hawks go a first round bye for winning the division). the Hawks would sweep the Lakers to move onto the NBA finals. But the Hawks would fall in 7 to Boston who won their first NBA title that year. after a Pettit buzzer-beater failed to go in
The Next season the Hawks easily won the Western Division and got another first round bye. Alex Hannum and former player was now the head coach, and the team looked poised to win its first Championship. The Hawks swept the Pistons to face the Celtics in a rematch of the NBA finals. the Hawks won game 1, The Celtics evened the series in game 2. but after losing Bill Russell the Celtics fail to the Hawks in game 3. the Celtics again tied the series in game 4. but the Hawks came back and took game 5. in game 6 Pettit would score a then Playoff record 50 points as the Hawks captured the NBA title.
The Hawks where extremly confident going into the 1959 playoffs having a large lead in the standings over the Lakers. but where shocked when the Lakers lead by Rookie Elgin Baylor beat them in 6.
The Hawks made it back to the finals in 60, but Bill Russell was to dominant as the Hawks fell in 7. the next season the Hawks added rookie Lenny Wilkins to their team. but the now aging Hawks where no match for the Celtics who captured their 2nd stright NBA title.
The decline of the Hawks came quickly, Wilkins was called into Military service in 1962, and in 65 Bob Pettit called in a carrer. shortly after that the team was moved to Atlanta.
The Hawks enjoyed success in the 60's but nothing nealry as successful as the late 50s had been. the Hawks never again would make the NBA finals. but as the 60s came to a close with the Hawkins having added players like Pete Maravich, and Lou Hudson to their team.
as the NBA entered the 70s the Hawks where one of the most exciting teams in the league. Maravich and Hudson kept the fans on their feet. but in 1974 after trading Maravich to the expansion New Orleans Jazz, and losing Hudson to an elbow injury. the Hawks won only 31 games.
in 1979 the Hawks finaly won a division title after 9 years, but the Hawks fell to the Julius Erving lead Sixers in 5 games. but in 1980 the team fell apart only winning 21 games, but the next season they improved to 42-40 but fell once again to Ervings Sixers.
In 1982 the Hawks made probibly the best trade in their teams histoy. traded Freeman Williams, and John Drew to the Utah Jazz for Dominique Wilkins. Wilkins instantly became a success, with his high flying dunks, and his ability to score. but his rookie year the Hawks only won 40 games, then his second year, the Hawks only won 34. it wasnt until 1985-86 when the Hawks won 50 games did Wilkins make the playoffs, but still then they lost to the Celtics
In 1986-87 the Hawks won a franchise best 57 games, and won the Central title,the Hawks beat the Pacers 3-1 in the first round, but fell 4-2 to the Pistons in the next round. the following year the Hawks mounted another 50 win season, and after beating Milwaukee in 5, they once again faced the Celtics. the series would go 7 games, and in game 7 Wilkins and Boston's Larry Bird would have one of the best point-for-point duels of all time. Birds Celtics won the game by 2 points.
The Hawks fell in 5 games to the Bucks in 88, and failed to make the playoffs in 89. the team went under alot of changes and in 1993 the Hawks traded Wilkins to the Clippers for Danny Manning.
the 90s would be a medocre decade for the Hawks. after aquiring guys like Dikembe Mutumbo, and Steve Smith. the Hawks had some good seasons including a 56 win season in 96-97, but lost to the eventual NBA champions Bulls.
the 1999-2000 season would be the worst in team history going just 28-54. in 2000-01 Mutumbo was traded to the Sixers for Theo Ratliff, Tony Kukoc, Nazr Mohammed, and Pepe Sanchez. the Hawks scooped to an even more dismal season then the one before it. winning just 25 games.