The Atlanta Hawks are one of the 30 professional basketball teams in the National Basketball Association. They are part of the Southeast Division within the Eastern Conference along with the Orlando Magic, Miami Heat, Washington Wizards, and Charlotte Hornets.
The Hawks are historically rivals with the Boston Celtics and the Orlando Magic.
The Hawks originally played in the National Basketball League and were founded in 1946 as the Buffalo Bison in Buffalo, New York. They were relocated after only a month to Moline, Illinois, where they were renamed the Tri-City Blackhawks.
In 1949, the Blackhawks became one of the 17 original members of the NBA. During their first years in the league, they were unsuccessful in not only winning games but in retaining talent. Both coach Red Auerbach and point guard Bob Cousy had brief stints with the team before moving on to the Boston Celtics where they would enjoy Hall of Fame careers.
The team moved to Milwaukee in 1951, and rebranded the team as just the Hawks. This did not help their on court success, as they perennially missed the playoffs.
The 1954 draft saw the Hawks select Bob Pettit, a power forward from LSU who would define the franchise for years to come. In addition, the team moved to St. Louis in 1955 and became an NBA powerhouse.
Behind now MVP Pettit, the Hawks made it to four NBA finals in a five year span, winning their only championship in 1958 against the Boston Celtics. Their three losses were to Boston as well.
In 1968, the Hawks relocated to their current home in Atlanta. The team was led by duo Lou Hudson and Pete Maravich but struggled to make it far in the playoffs. After trading Maravich and having multiple draft picks decide not to play for the franchise, the Hawks reached a low point in their history as fans wondered whether they would remain in Atlanta considering their inability to win.
In 1982, the Hawks traded for Dominique Wilkins, a move that shaped the next decade for the franchise. Behind Wilkins and role players such as Spud Webb, the Hawks made it to the Eastern Conference semifinals two years in a row but were unable to make it back to the finals.
In 1994, Hawks head coach Lenny Wilkins became the all time leader for coaching victories in a career. The 1996 season featured the acquisition of Dikembe Mutumbo, and the defensive player of the year led them to playoff success but never a championship appearance.
The Hawks have had plenty of highlights in the seasons post 2000, however they have little hardware to show for it. Despite having multiple all stars in Josh Smith, Joe Johnson, Al Horford, and Paul Milsap, the Hawks have been unable to make it back to the NBA finals. Even after winning 60 games in the 2014-15 season and earning the number one seed, the Hawks were swept by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.