The Atlanta Hawks are an Atlanta-based professional basketball club. The Hawks are a member of the NBA’s Eastern Conference Southeast Division and participate in the league’s Eastern Conference. The team’s home games are held at Philips Arena.
The Tri-Cities Blackhawks, a member of the National Basketball League (NBL) and owned by Ben Kerner and Leo Ferris, were founded in 1946 in Moline, Illinois.
They joined the NBA in 1949 after the NBL and the Basketball Association of America (BAA) merged, and Red Auerbach was their coach for a short time. Kerner relocated the team to Milwaukee in 1951, and the Hawks became its new name.
Kerner and the club relocated to St. Louis in 1955, winning their sole NBA title in 1958 and qualifying for the NBA Finals in 1957, 1960, and 1961. In each of their four appearances in the NBA Finals, the Hawks faced the Boston Celtics.
History of Atlanta Hawks
Kerner sold the St. Louis Hawks to Thomas Cousins and former Georgia Governor Carl Sanders in 1968, and the team relocated to Atlanta.
The squad was dubbed the Blackhawks, after the Sauk Indian Chief Black Hawk, just like Chicago’s hockey team. The moniker was abbreviated to Hawks when the club relocated to Milwaukee in 1951. Following transfers to St. Louis and then Atlanta in 1968, the franchise kept the shorter moniker.
Atlanta Hawks is an Atlanta-based professional basketball franchise. When the National Basketball Association (NBA) was founded in 1949, the Hawks were one of the initial clubs. In 1958, the squad won their only championship.
The Tri-Cities Blackhawks were created in 1946 in Moline and Rock Island, Illinois, and Davenport, Iowa, and played in the National Basketball League for three seasons before the NBA was formed.
Before the 1951–52 season, they relocated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and their moniker was abbreviated to “Hawks.” After years of mediocre performance, the Hawks selected future Hall of Famer Bob Pettit with the second overall choice in the 1954 NBA draught, and their fortunes began to turn around.
The Hawks relocated to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1955 and got to the NBA finals in 1956–57, when they were defeated in seven games by the Boston Celtics.
The Hawks won their first championship the following season after defeating the Celtics in a rematch in the finals. Despite making the playoffs in all but one of the following 15 seasons, the Hawks only made it to the finals twice, both times falling to the Celtics.
In 1968, the Hawks were sold to a Georgia-based organization and relocated to Atlanta. Pete Maravich, Walt Bellamy, and Lou Hudson were among the early Atlanta stars.
In a post-draft deal that brought youngster Dominique Wilkins into the fold, the Hawks gained the most famous superstar of its Atlanta years in 1982. Wilkins, dubbed “the Human Highlight Film” for his spectacular slam dunks, led the Hawks to four straight 50-win seasons in the 1980s and established himself as one of the NBA’s most prolific scorers.
However, his achievements did not translate to postseason success for his club, as the Hawks never advanced past the second round of the NBA playoffs in any of his 12 seasons with the franchise.
The 1999–2000 season marked the start of Atlanta’s greatest postseason hiatus, although the Hawks returned to the postseason in 2007–08 with a youthful squad that took the eventual-champion Celtics to seven games in their first-round series.
The Hawks were a consistent postseason force throughout the rest of the first decade of the twenty-first century, but they never advanced past the second round of the playoffs.
The Hawks enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2014–15, winning a franchise-record 60 games and reaching the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since arriving in Atlanta (where they lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers).
However, that was only a one-season reversal, as the Hawks fell back into the second-round ceiling pattern in 2015–16. In the ensuing off-season, the team lost several of its important players, and the squad limped to a 24-win season and a last-place divisional finish in 2017–18.
Pete Maravich, commonly known as Pistol Pete, was born on June 22, 1947, in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, and died on January 5, 1988, in Pasadena, California.
American basketball player who was the most prolific scorer in Division I men’s collegiate basketball history and his ballhandling and passing dexterity helped alter the game in the 1960s and 1970s.
Maravich was a stunning shooting star who shot through collegiate and professional levels, motivated by an insatiable ambition to be the best, leading to an eventful but brief life.
His father, Press Maravich, who was the head basketball coach at Clemson University and North Carolina State University before taking over at Louisiana State University, instilled some of Maravich’s will to succeed in him (LSU).
Maravich was encouraged by his father to always improve his basketball talents, and the young Maravich’s practice tactics are legendary, including dribbling while running marathons, riding a bicycle, and dribbling out the window of a car while a passenger.
He developed a variety of techniques that made the ball look like an extension of his body in the process. There appeared to be no scoring, passing, ballhandling, fake, or mind-boggling technique Pistol Pete couldn’t—or wouldn’t—attempt on an individual basis.
He set a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) scoring record with 3,667 points in three varsity seasons at LSU under his father—in an age when freshmen were not allowed to play with the varsity. He set an NCAA record of 44.5 points per game as a senior in 1969–70, leading all collegiate scorers three times in a row.
Maravich was the perfect showman on the court, with a mop of disheveled brown hair and his distinctive floppy socks, he enthralled the LSU crowd at the John M. Parker Agricultural Coliseum. He was timid, nearly reclusive off the court save with close pals, and he drank, eventually becoming an alcoholic.
Maravich’s professional career was hampered by animosity over the $1.9 million deal he got as the Atlanta Hawks’ first-round pick in 1970 (by far the highest-paying to date). Pistol Pete had matured into a highly tuned 6-foot 5-inch (1.96-meter) guard at that time, albeit his limitless potential remained mostly unrealized throughout ten NBA seasons.
As he went on to the New Orleans Jazz, where he won his only NBA scoring title with a 31.1 average in 1976–77, injuries took their toll. In 1979, the club moved to Utah, and Maravich’s position was reduced. After being released by the Jazz, he went on to play for the Boston Celtics, where he concluded his career. After basketball, he looked for a way of life that would provide him serenity, and he experimented with vegetarianism, yoga, and Hinduism, among other things, before settling on Christianity. At the age of 40, he died of a heart attack.
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