Basketball Wiki
Atlanta Hawks
Conference Eastern Conference NBA Eastern Conference
Division Southeast Division
Founded 1946
History Buffalo Bisons
Tri-Cities Blackhawks
Milwaukee Hawks
St. Louis Hawks
Atlanta Hawks
Arena State Farm Arena
City Atlanta, Georgia
Team Colors Torch Red, Legacy Yellow, Infinity Black, Granite Gray
Fox Sports South
Owner(s) Tony Ressler (principal owner)
General Manager Travis Schlenk
Head Coach Quin Snyder
Uniform Sponsor Sharecare
Affiliate College Park Skyhawks
NBA NBA Championship logo 1 (1958)
Conference Conference Championship logo 0
Division 12 (1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1968, 1970, 1980, 1987, 1994, 2015, 2021)
Retired numbers 6 (6, 9, 21, 23, 44, 55)
Official Website
HawksAssociation HawksIcon HawksStatement
Home court
Atlanta Hawks Court

The Atlanta Hawks are an American professional basketball franchise based in Atlanta, Georgia. The Hawks are part of the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The team plays its home games at State Farm Arena.

The team's origins can be traced to the establishment of the Buffalo Bisons in 1946 in Buffalo, New York, a member of the National Basketball League (NBL) owned by Ben Kerner and Leo Ferris. After 38 days in Buffalo, the team moved to Moline, Illinois, where they were renamed the Tri-Cities Blackhawks. In 1949, they joined the NBA as part of the merger between the NBL and the Basketball Association of America (BAA), and briefly had Red Auerbach as coach. In 1951, Kerner moved the team to Milwaukee, where they changed their name to the Hawks. Kerner and the team moved again in 1955 to St. Louis, where they won their only NBA championship in 1958 and qualified to play in the NBA Finals in 1957, 1960, and 1961. The Hawks played the Boston Celtics in all four of their trips to the NBA Finals. The St. Louis Hawks moved to Atlanta in 1968, when Kerner sold the franchise to Thomas Cousins and former Georgia Governor Carl Sanders.

The Hawks currently own the second-longest drought (behind the Sacramento Kings) of not winning an NBA championship at 65 seasons. The franchise's lone NBA championship, as well as all four NBA Finals appearances, occurred when the team was based in St. Louis. Meanwhile, they went 48 years without advancing past the second round of the playoffs in any format, until finally breaking through in 2015. However, the Hawks are one of only four NBA teams that have qualified to play in the NBA playoffs in 10 consecutive seasons in the 21st century. They achieved this feat between 2008 and 2017.

Franchise history[]

1946–1953: Buffalo, Tri-Cities, and Milwaukee[]

The origins of the Atlanta Hawks can be traced to the Buffalo Bisons franchise, which was founded in 1946. The Bisons were a member of the National Basketball League, and played their games at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. The club was organized by the Erie County American Legion and was coached by Nat Hickey. Their first game – a 50–39 victory over the Syracuse Nationals – was played on November 8, 1946. On the team was William "Pop" Gates, who, along with William "Dolly" King, was one of the first two African-American players in the NBL. The team, which needed to draw 3,600 fans per game to break even, struggled to draw 1,000 fans per game to the Auditorium. The franchise lasted only 38 days in Buffalo when, on December 25, 1946, Leo Ferris, the team's general manager, announced that the team would be moving to Moline, Illinois, which at that time was part of an area then known as the "Tri-Cities": Moline, Rock Island, Illinois, and Davenport, Iowa.

Tri-Cities Blackhawks logo

Tri-Cities Blackhawks logo 1949–1951.

Upon relocation to Moline, the team was renamed the Tri-Cities Blackhawks, and played their home games at Wharton Field House, a 6,000-seat arena in Moline. The team featured guard/forward and coach Deanglo King, and was owned by Leo Ferris and Ben Kerner. Pop Gates remained on the Blackhawks roster, and finished second on the team in scoring behind future 1948 NBL MVP Don Otten. A Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame member, Gates helped to integrate the league and later become the first African-American coach in a major sports league, coaching Dayton in 1948.

Milwaukee Hawks logo

Milwaukee Hawks logo 1951–1955.

In 1949, the Blackhawks became one of the National Basketball Association's 17 original teams after a merger of the 12-year-old NBL and the three-year-old Basketball Association of America (BAA). They reached the playoffs in the NBA's inaugural year under the leadership of coach Red Auerbach. The following season, they drafted three-time All-American Bob Cousy, but they were unable to reach a deal and traded him to the Chicago Stags (who would later surrender him in a dispersal draft to the Boston Celtics when the Stags folded). The Blackhawks finished last in the Western Division and missed the playoffs. By then, it was obvious that the Tri-Cities area was too small to support an NBA team. After the season, the franchise relocated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and became the Milwaukee Hawks.

1954–1965: The Bob Pettit era and first NBA championship[]

Bob Pettit

Bob Pettit was drafted 2nd overall by the Milwaukee Hawks in the 1954 NBA Draft. Pettit was the first recipient of the NBA Most Valuable Player Award.

In 1954, the Hawks drafted Bob Pettit, a future NBA MVP. Despite this, the Hawks were one of the league's worst teams, and in 1955 the Hawks moved, this time to St. Louis, Missouri, Milwaukee's rival in the beer industry, and became the St. Louis Hawks.


St. Louis Hawks logo 1955–1957.

In 1956, the St. Louis Hawks drafted legendary Bill Russell in the first round (#2 pick). They immediately traded Russell to the Boston Celtics for Cliff Hagan and Ed Macauley, both Hall of Fame members.


St. Louis Hawks logo 1957–1968.

In 1957, the Hawks finished four games under .500. However, the Western Division was extremely weak that year; no team in the division had a winning record. They won the division title and a bye to the division finals after defeating the Minneapolis Lakers and Fort Wayne Pistons in one-game tiebreakers. They then defeated the Lakers in the division finals to advance to the Finals, losing to the Boston Celtics in a double-overtime thriller in game seven.

In 1958, after tallying their first winning record, they again advanced to the Finals, where they avenged their defeat against the Celtics from the previous year, winning the series 4–2 and giving the Hawks their first and only NBA Championship. Bob Pettit scored 50 points in the final game of the series.

The Hawks remained one of the NBA's premier teams for the next decade. In 1960, under coach Ed Macauley, the team advanced to the Finals, but lost to the Celtics in another game seven thriller. The following year, with the acquisition of rookie Lenny Wilkens, the Hawks repeated their success, but met the Celtics in the Finals again and lost in five games. They would remain contenders for most of the 1960s, advancing deep into the playoffs and also capturing several division titles.

1965–1975: Relocation to Atlanta[]

Atlanta Hawks logo 1968–69

Atlanta Hawks logo used in the team's 1968–69 inaugural season in Atlanta.

Despite the success, Kerner became weary of the Hawks' longtime home, Kiel Auditorium. The 33-year-old arena seated only 10,000 people and was starting to show its age. The Hawks occasionally played at the larger St. Louis Arena, mostly against popular opponents, but Kerner was not willing to move the team there full-time because it had not been well-maintained since the 1940s. Even though it was being heavily renovated to accommodate the arrival of the NHL's Blues in 1967, Kerner was still not willing to move to the St. Louis Arena. He wanted a new arena to increase revenue. However, Kerner was rebuffed by the city on several occasions. In early 1967, Kerner briefly put the Hawks up for sale. One of the bidders was a New Orleans group led by Morton Downey Jr., but the deal collapsed and Kerner temporarily took his team off the market.

Atlanta Hawks logo 1969–70

Atlanta Hawks logo used in the 196970 NBA season.

Unable to resolve the arena situation, Kerner sold the Hawks to Atlanta real estate developer Tom Cousins and former Georgia governor Carl Sanders, who moved the team to Atlanta in 1968. While a new arena was being constructed, the team spent its first four seasons playing at Alexander Memorial Coliseum on the campus of Georgia Tech, winning their first Division title in the 1969–70 season with a 48–34 record in the Western Division. Cousins' firm soon developed the Omni Coliseum, a 16,500-seat, state-of-the-art downtown Atlanta arena, for the Hawks and the expansion Atlanta Flames hockey franchise, which opened in 1972 as the first phase of a massive sports, office, hotel and retail complex, most of which is now the CNN Center. Also in 1972, the Hawks debuted a new logo and new colors, trading the green and blue color scheme that the team had used for two years, in favor of white, gold, and red, the same colors the Flames used. The hawk head silhouette inside a circle remained as the team's logo, albeit simplified.

Atlanta Hawks logo 1970–72

Atlanta Hawks logo 1970–1972.

The years after the move showcased a talented Hawks team, including Pete Maravich and Lou Hudson. However, after this period of success, the team experienced some years of rebuilding. Despite appearing to be moving in the right direction when they ended up with the 1st and 3rd picks overall in the 1975 NBA draft, the players drafted with those two picks, David Thompson of North Carolina State and Marvin Webster of Morgan State, both signed with the Denver Nuggets of the American Basketball Association and never played for the Hawks.

Ted Turner's ownership[]

Atlanta Hawks logo 1972–95

Atlanta Hawks logo 1972–1995.

Cable network entrepreneur and Atlanta Braves owner Ted Turner bought the team in 1977 and hired Hubie Brown to become head coach. The Hawks were the only NBA team in the Deep South, just as the Atlanta Braves were the only Major League Baseball team in the region for many years to come. Turner's ownership was instrumental in keeping both teams in the region. Coach Brown won coach of the year in 1978. In the 1979–80 season, the Hawks finished with a 50–32 record and won the Central Division. It was their first division title in the Central Division and second in the city of Atlanta. The next season, the Hawks got off to a 4–0 start, then lost 13 of the next 14 games and with 3 games left in the season, The Hawks fired head coach Hubie Brown en route to the team's 31–51 record.

1982–1994: The Dominique Wilkins era[]

Dominique wilkins 1

Dominique Wilkins was drafted third overall by the Utah Jazz in the 1982 NBA Draft, but was traded to the Hawks due to Wilkins' reluctance to play for Utah.

In 1982, the franchise acquired superstar Dominique Wilkins and promoted Mike Fratello to head coach a year later. Due to sagging attendance, 12 home games during the 1984–85 season were played at the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana. The New Orleans games were paid for by Barry Mendelson for $1.2 million with the Hawks going 6–6 in Louisiana. Dominique Wilkins won the Slam Dunk Contest in 1985 and 1990, engaging in an iconic rivalry with Michael JordanSpud Webb won the Slam Dunk Contest and Fratello won the Coach of the Year Award in 1986.

From 1985 to 1989, the Hawks were among the league's elite, winning 50 games or more each season. They won a division title in 1986–87 going 57–25 which was a franchise record that would last until the 2014–15 season. However, the team could not advance past the semifinals of the Eastern Conference playoffs, losing to the eventual Eastern Conference (and in some years, NBA) champions Boston and Detroit. The Hawks drafted Stacey Augmon with their ninth overall pick in the 1991 NBA draft, who would make the All-Rookie First Team. However, Wilkins had a season-ending injury in the middle of the season, and without him, the Hawks were unable to make it to the playoffs. In 1992, the Hawks acquired guard Mookie Blaylock from the New Jersey Nets; he would spend seven years of his career as a Hawk, leading them in career steals and three-point field goals while earning an All-Star appearance in 1994. After seasons of mediocrity, Lenny Wilkens was hired as head coach in 1993. In 1993–94, the Hawks won 57 games, tying a team record. They also won a fourth division title in Atlanta, and third in the Central Division. Coach Wilkens was named Coach of the Year for his work with the team. However, the team fell short again in the playoffs, losing to the fifth-seeded Indiana Pacers in the Eastern semis in six games. The season was also marred by the trading of Dominique Wilkins, who remains the franchise all-time leading scorer, to the Los Angeles Clippers for Danny Manning, who quickly left via free agency to the Phoenix Suns after the season ended. On March 6, 2015, Dominique Wilkins received a statue in front of Philips Arena.

1994–2005: Average times[]

Atlanta Hawks logo 1995–2007

Atlanta Hawks logo 1995–2007.

At the beginning of the 1994–95 season, the Hawks traded forward Kevin Willis to the Miami Heat for Steve Smith and Grant Long. During the season, coach Wilkens broke the record (previously held by coach Red Auerbach) for most victories by an NBA head coach with victory number 939. They ended up fifth in the Central Division with a 42–40 record, but were swept by the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the playoffs. The Hawks finished the 1995–96 season with a 46–36 record, fourth in the Central Division. Midway through the season, they acquired Christian Laettner from the Minnesota Timberwolves; Laettner would get an All-Star appearance in 1997. They upset the third-seeded Indiana Pacers in the first round in five games; however, they lost in five games to the Orlando Magic in the semifinals.

Around this time, it was decided that the Omni should be replaced by a new arena. The Omni was designed with weathering steel that was intended to rust into a seal around the arena so it could last for decades. However, the designers and architects did not reckon on Atlanta's humid subtropical climate. As a result, it never stopped rusting, and looked somewhat dated despite being 25 years old. When Turner won an NHL franchise, the Atlanta Thrashers, one condition was that a new arena had to be in place before the new team took the ice for the first time, as The Omni was unusable even for temporary use. Eventually, it was decided that The Omni would be demolished and a new arena for the Hawks and the expansion NHL Thrashers would be built on the same area. Following the 1997 playoffs, the Hawks moved back to Georgia Tech's Alexander Memorial Coliseum, with the Georgia Dome used for larger-capacity games, until Philips Arena opened before the 1999–2000 season.

The Hawks had two 50+ win seasons in 1996–97 (56–26) and 1997–98 (50–32), with center Dikembe Mutombo winning defensive player of the year awards back to back. The Hawks defeated the Detroit Pistons in five games in the first round of the 1997 NBA playoffs, but lost in five games in the second round to the defending champion Chicago Bulls. Game 4, an 89–80 loss, would be the last game at The Omni. In 1997–98, forward Alan Henderson won Most Improved Player award. However, the Hawks would lose in four games in the first round of the playoffs to the Charlotte Hornets. The Hawks would end up with a 31-win campaign in the lockout-shortened 1998–99 season. In the first round, they defeated the Detroit Pistons in five games again, but they could not advance past the second round of the playoffs, as they were swept by the eighth-seeded New York Knicks.

In the 1999–2000 season, their first season at Philips Arena, the Hawks traded Steve Smith to the Portland Trail Blazers for Isaiah Rider and Jim Jackson, and sent Mookie Blaylock and a first round draft pick to the Golden State Warriors for Bimbo Coles and a first round draft pick. Smith and Blaylock had been two of the Hawks' most popular players during the 1990s, and Smith had recently been awarded the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for his charitable endeavors, as well as being selected in the 1998 NBA All-Star Game. By contrast, Rider had a history of behavioral problems both on and off the court. Rider's troubled conduct continued after his arrival in Atlanta. Rider missed the first day of training camp and was late for two games. After reports that he smoked marijuana in an Orlando hotel room during a January road trip, the league demanded that he attend drug counseling, and fined him a total of $200,000 until he agreed to go. When he showed up late for a March game, the Hawks released him. The Smith/Rider trade sent the Hawks into a downward spiral. After only missing the playoffs four times since 1977, they fell to seventh place in the Central Division with a 28–54 record; they would not return to the playoffs for eight years.

Point guard Jason Terry became the team's scoring leader during the 2000–01 season, leading them with 19.7 ppg. After the All-Star break, the Hawks traded Mutombo to the Philadelphia 76ers for Theo RatliffToni Kukoč, and Nazr Mohammed. However, Ratliff was injured and did not play with the Hawks until next season. They ended the season with a 25–57 record. In 2001, the Hawks drafted Spanish star Pau Gasol 3rd, but his rights were ceded to the Memphis Grizzlies in a trade involving Shareef Abdur-Rahim. Abdur-Rahim became the team's scoring leader, and made his only All-Star appearance in 2002. The team ended up 33–49 for the 2001–02 season. The Hawks sent Kukoc to the Milwaukee Bucks for All-Star Glenn Robinson in 2002, Robinson lead the team with 20.8 ppg. But the Hawks still failed to make the playoffs for the 2002–03 season, finishing with a 35–47 record.

In February 2004, the Hawks had the distinction of having NBA All-Star Rasheed Wallace play one game for the team. Wallace was traded from the Portland Trail Blazers to the Hawks along with Wesley Person for Abdur-Rahim, Ratliff, and Dan Dickau. In his lone game for the Hawks, Wallace scored 20 points, had 6 rebounds, 5 blocks, 2 assists and a steal in a loss to the New Jersey Nets. After the game he was dealt to the Detroit Pistons in a three-way trade with the Boston Celtics. In turn, Detroit sent guard Bob Sura, center Željko Rebrača, and a first-round draft pick to the Hawks. The Boston Celtics also sent forward Chris Mills to Atlanta to complete the deal, but Mills never had a chance to play in a Hawks uniform. The Hawks ended their 2003–04 season with a 28–54 record. In 2003, Atlanta hosted the All-Star game, the last an Eastern Conference team would host for nine years.

Atlanta Spirit LLC's ownership[]

On March 31, 2004, the team was sold to a group of executives by the name of Atlanta Spirit LLC by Time Warner (who inherited the Hawks, Braves and Thrashers upon its merger with Turner Broadcasting in 1996). During the off-season, the Hawks sent Jason TerryAlan Henderson, and a future first round draft pick to the Dallas Mavericks for Antoine Walker and Tony Delk. After the change in ownership, the Hawks still struggled. In the 2004–05 season, the Hawks were the league's worst team with a mere 13 victories (five fewer than even the expansion Charlotte Bobcats and the struggling New Orleans Hornets). It was also the year Josh Smith won the 2005 Slam Dunk Contest.

2005–2012: The Joe Johnson era[]

In the summer of 2005, the Hawks completed a sign and trade deal with the Phoenix Suns to acquire Joe Johnson in return for Boris Diaw and two future 1st round picks. They also signed Zaza Pachulia from the Milwaukee Bucks. These changes occurred after an apparent power struggle between the owners for nearly three weeks before the moves were made.

Despite their league-worst record the previous season, the Hawks only landed the number two pick in the 2005 NBA draft lottery (the first pick went to the Milwaukee Bucks). With the second pick, the Hawks selected Marvin Williams of North Carolina. In the 2006 draft, the Hawks selected former Duke star Shelden Williams with the fifth overall pick.

Atlanta Hawks logo 2007–15

Atlanta Hawks logo 2007–2015.

Hope and redemption appeared to be on the horizon for the Hawks beginning in 2007. With the third pick of the NBA draft, they selected Al Horford. Horford nearly averaged a double-double during his rookie season, and is the only unanimous selection to the All-Rookie First Team as well as being runner-up for Rookie of the Year honors. The season started with a victory against the Dallas Mavericks 101–94, sending hope to Hawks fans. The last time they won a season opener was in 1998, also the last time they made the playoffs. For the 2007–08 season, the Atlanta Hawks updated the colors and uniforms to navy blue, red, and silver, marking the first time in team history that they had used those colors.

A midseason trade for point guard Mike Bibby boosted the Hawks' playoff hopes. At the time of the trade the Hawks were 22–28; afterwards they won 15 of their last 32 games to finish 37–45. Although they finished with a losing record, they managed to make the playoffs for the first time since 1999. In the playoffs, the Hawks started to show improvement, pushing the eventual NBA Champions, Boston Celtics, to a Game 7 before losing in a blowout in Boston. The Hawks won all three games at Philips Arena, which hosted its first playoff games and earned its first sellout.

The 2008–09 season saw the Hawks win 47 games, their first winning season since 1999. With almost an intact lineup from the previous year the Hawks manage to take a step forward in their development. Again they were pushed to a Game 7 in the first round but capitalized on home-court advantage earning their first playoff series win since 1999 against the Miami Heat. The Hawks were swept by the top-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers 4–0 in the Conference Semifinals.

The 2009–10 season saw the Hawks improve further, winning 53 games, their first 50-win season since 1997–98. Al Horford earned his first All-Star selection, and along with Joe Johnson, this marked the first time since 1998 that the Hawks sent two players to the All-Star Game. The playoffs, however, were a reprise from the previous year. They won a hard-fought seven-game series against the Milwaukee Bucks, but they were swept by the Orlando Magic in the second round, with every game a one-sided contest. After the season, the Hawks dismissed head coach Mike Woodson and was replaced by Larry Drew.

The Hawks took a step back in the 2010–11 season, finishing with 44 wins, even though Horford and Johnson were named to the All-Star team. In midseason, the Hawks traded Mike Bibby to the Washington Wizards for Kirk Hinrich, in hopes of bringing a defensive guard to replace the defensively liable Bibby. The Hawks finished the season losing their final six games. In the playoffs, the Hawks beat the Orlando Magic in six games; however, they subsequently lost to the top-seeded Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in six games.

In August 2011, it was announced that California-based businessman Alex Meruelo was buying a majority stake of the Hawks, but in November he backed out of his intentions.

In December 2011, The Hawks signed Tracy McGradyJerry StackhouseJason CollinsVladimir RadmanovicJannero Pargo, and Willie Green. They also picked up rookies Donald Sloan and 27-year-old Ivan Johnson. Sloan was waived a month later.

The Hawks finished the 2011–12 season with the fourth best record in the Eastern Conference with 40 wins, clinching the playoffs for the fifth straight season. However, the Hawks would be eliminated in the first round by the Boston Celtics in six games, ending the Hawks' three-year streak of advancing to the second round.

2012–2013: Roster turnover[]

On June 25, 2012, the Hawks hired San Antonio Spurs Vice President of Basketball Operations Danny Ferry as President of Basketball Operations and General Manager. During the 2012 NBA draft, the Hawks chose guard John Jenkins with the 23rd pick and power forward Mike Scott with the 43rd pick. On July 2, 2012, the Hawks traded leading scorer and All-Star Joe Johnson to the Brooklyn Nets for Jordan FarmarAnthony MorrowDeShawn StevensonJordan Williams and Johan Petro, as well as a 2013 first-round pick. That same day, the Hawks traded small forward Marvin Williams to the Utah Jazz for point guard Devin Harris.

On July 10, 2012, the Hawks signed guard Lou Williams.

On January 21, 2013, following Lou Williams' season-ending injury in a game against the Brooklyn Nets, the Hawks signed guard Jannero Pargo to a 10-day contract.

On February 21, 2013, the Hawks traded Morrow to the Dallas Mavericks for Dahntay Jones. That same day, the Hawks traded a future 2nd-round pick to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for Jeremy Tyler, who was waived 15 days later.

The Hawks ended the 2012–13 season with a 44–38 record, making a playoff appearance for the sixth straight season. However, they were eliminated by the Indiana Pacers in six games in the first round. By the end of the offseason, every player involved in the Johnson and Williams trades just a year earlier were either waived or not brought back. The 2013 free agency period also marked the end of the Josh Smith era for Atlanta as he signed a contract with the Detroit Pistons. Longtime Hawk Zaza Pachulia moved on as well and signed with the Milwaukee Bucks. With half the roster gone, 2012–13 proved to be a roster turnover year, paving a path to success for Mike Budenholzer.

2013–2017: The Mike Budenholzer era[]

On May 28, 2013, the Hawks hired San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Mike Budenholzer as the new head coach.

The Hawks entered the 2013 NBA draft with four draft picks. They drafted point guards Dennis Schröder (17th pick) and Shane Larkin (18th pick). They also chose point guard Raulzinho Neto with the 47th pick and small forward James Ennis with the 50th pick. However, the Hawks traded Larkin to the Dallas Mavericks for the draft rights of Mike Muscala and Lucas Nogueira (originally drafted by the Boston Celtics), as well as guard Jared Cunningham. They also traded Ennis's draft rights to the Miami Heat and Neto's to the Utah Jazz for a future second-round pick. The Hawks brought back Kyle Korver with a four-year, $24 million deal and signed power forward Paul Millsap to a two-year, $19 million deal.

On December 26, 2013, Horford tore his right pectoral muscle, and on December 30, the Hawks announced that he would undergo surgery the next day and would miss the rest of the season. The Hawks finished 38–44, their first losing season since 2008. However, due to the weakness of the Eastern Conference, they finished as the 8th seed in the playoffs, and just like 2008, the Hawks would not go down easy, as they took the top-seeded Indiana Pacers to 7 games in before a 92–80 loss in Game 7.

On May 1, 2014, the Hawks unveiled a new secondary logo, which is a modernized version of the 1972–95 "Pac-Man" logo. On July 15, 2014, they acquired defensive specialist Thabo Sefolosha from the Oklahoma City Thunder. On September 7, 2014, Bruce Levenson announced he would sell his share of the team, after self-reporting an inappropriate email he sent in 2012. Some in the African American sports community have defended Levenson, namely Jason Whitlock and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, commenting that Levenson's email had no racist intent, but was motivated by valid business concerns.

On January 2, 2015, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the remaining minority owners of Atlanta Hawks, LLC would join Levenson, effectively putting the entire franchise for sale. The sale of the team as well as the operating rights to Philips Arena was handled by Goldman Sachs and Inner Circle Sports LLC. The NBA has stated that the Hawks would remain in Atlanta as a condition of their sale. Additionally, Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed stated that the city might offer incentives for a prospective owner to keep the Hawks in Atlanta for another 30 years. On April 22, 2015, Atlanta Spirit reached a tentative agreement to sell the franchise to a group led by billionaire Tony Ressler (with Grant Hill, Steven Price, Rick Schnall, Sara Blakely, Jesse Itzler and Ressler's wife Jami Gertz holding minority stakes) for $850 million; the sale was approved by the NBA Board of Governors on June 24, 2015.

On January 31, 2015, the Hawks became the first NBA team to go 17–0 in a calendar month by beating the Portland Trail Blazers. The 2015 All-Star Game consisted of four Hawks All-Stars including Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver and Al Horford. On March 9, 2015, Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll each scored 20 points to help the Hawks become the first NBA team to 50 wins in 2014–15, scoring a season-high in routing the Sacramento Kings 130–105. The Hawks also set a franchise record by going 20-of-36 for three-pointers, breaking the mark of 19 set against the Dallas Mavericks on December 17, 1996. On March 20, 2015, the Hawks clinched their first division title in over two decades and became the first team not based in Florida to win the NBA's Southeast Division; one week later, with a win over the Miami Heat as well as a Cleveland Cavaliers loss to the Brooklyn Nets, the Hawks clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The team finished a franchise-best 60–22.

In the Eastern Conference first round, the Hawks defeated the Brooklyn Nets in six games. The Hawks then advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals to face the Washington Wizards, also defeating them in six games. It was the first time they had advanced past the second round since 1967, their next-to-last year in St. Louis. The Hawks advanced to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in franchise history, where they were swept in four games to the Cleveland Cavaliers, missing out on their chance to return to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1961.

Atlanta Hawks Logo

Atlanta Hawks logo 2015–2020.

On June 22, 2016, the Hawks traded Jeff Teague to the Indiana Pacers in a three-team deal, that would give Utah's 12th pick in the 2016 NBA draft to the Hawks. On July 8, 2016, Horford signed a four-year, $113 million contract with the Boston Celtics. On July 12, 2016, Dwight Howard agreed to return home to Atlanta on a three-year, $70 million contract with the Hawks. The Hawks finished the season with a 43–39 record, good enough for the fifth seed. They lost in the First Round to the Washington Wizardsin six games.

On June 20, 2017, Howard was traded, along with the 31st overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft, to the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for Marco BellinelliMiles Plumlee, and the 41st overall pick in the same draft. Two days later, the Hawks selected Wake Forest power forward John Collins with the 19th overall pick. On July 13, 2017, Paul Millsap left the Hawks by signing a multi-year deal with the Denver Nuggets.

2018–present: The Trae Young era[]

Trae young

Trae Young was selected by the Dallas Mavericks with the fifth overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, but was traded to the Atlanta Hawks along with a protected future first round pick in exchange for the rights to the third overall pick Luka Dončić. Young has since become the star player for the Hawks.

The loss of Howard and Millsap proved insurmountable for the rebuilding Hawks as they finished with a 24–58 record in the 2017–18 season, last in the Eastern Conference, and missed the playoffs for the first time since the 2006–07 season. On April 25, 2018, the Hawks and head coach Budenholzer had mutually decided to part ways.

On May 11, 2018, Lloyd Pierce was hired by the Atlanta Hawks as head coach. On June 21, the Hawks selected Luka Dončić with the third overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft and immediately traded him to the Dallas Mavericks along with a 2019 protected first-round pick for the draft rights to Trae Young. Despite high expectations entering the 2018–19 season, the Hawks finished with a 29–53 record.

In July 2018, the Hawks acquired Jeremy Lin, and traded Dennis Schröder, who demanded to be traded. Carmelo Anthony was acquired in the trade involving Schröder, but was later waived through a buyout. During the off-season, the team signed Vince Carter and Alex Len among other players. In February 2019, Lin was bought out, and eventually signed with the Toronto Raptors.

In the 2019 NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks obtained DeAndre Hunter who was drafted with the 4th pick. They also used the 10th pick, that they acquired when they traded Luka Doncic for Trae Young, to acquire Cam Reddish.

On January 23, 2020, Trae Young was selected to his first All Star Game. He was voted in as a starter and was the first Hawks player to start in an All Star Game since Dikembe Mutombo in 1998. On February 4, 2020 The Hawks were involved in a four team trade in which they acquired Clint Capela and Nenê. Capela was healing from a foot injury at the time and did not play for that entire season, which was cut short due the NBA's COVID-19 protocols. Nene was waived by the Hawks on February 6, 2020.

For the 2020-21 season, the Atlanta Hawks made a lot of moves to upgrade their roster. They signed two proven veteran players, Bogdan Bogdanovic at the wing position and Danilo Gallinari at the power forward spot. They also signed Rajon Rondo (who they'd later trade at the deadline for Lou Williams) and Kris Dunn to supply added help in the backcourt.

In March 2021, head coach Pierce was fired after the team's 14–20 start to the season and Nate McMillan was named interim head coach. After McMillan took over head coaching duties, the Hawks immediately posted an eight-game win streak, putting them firmly in playoff contention. Under coach McMillan, the Hawks went 27-11 in the regular season, and went on to finish the regular season with a 41-31 record.  This was enough for them to earn the 5th best record in the Eastern Conference and the title of Southeast division champions.

On May 12, 2021, the Hawks clinched their first playoff appearance since 2017, ending their four-year playoff drought.

In the playoffs, the Hawks defeated the New York Knicks in five games in the first round, winning their first playoff series since 2017. The Hawks advanced to the semifinals, where they faced the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers. The Hawks would go on to upset the 76ers in seven games (which included a 26 point comeback in Game 5 and an 18 point comeback in Game 5), to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second time in franchise history (first since 2015), where they faced the Milwaukee Bucks. Unfortunately for the Hawks, they would go on to lose to the eventual champion Bucks in six games, denying them a chance to return to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1961, back when the franchise was based in St. Louis, Missouri and were known as the St. Louis Hawks.

This deep postseason run all but assured that McMillan would have the "interim" tag removed from his title; two days after the Hawks were eliminated, the Hawks announced that McMillan had agreed in principle to a four-year deal as full-time head coach; the deal was finalized on July 7. The 2020–21 Atlanta Hawks have been compared to the 1977–78 Seattle SuperSonics, in that both teams had poor records early on, made a coaching change, surged up the rankings to get better records, and made unexpected deep playoff runs. The SuperSonics went on to reach the 1978 NBA Finals, where they lost in seven games to the Washington Bullets, but they made the Finals again the following year, rematching against the defending NBA champion Bullets, and getting revenge on them by winning the Finals in five games to win their first NBA championship. On December 22, 2021, The Atlanta Hawks added veteran Lance Stephenson from free agency.

In the 2021–22 season, the Hawks slightly regressed with a 43–39 record, where they qualified for the Play-in tournament. The Hawks defeated the Charlotte Hornets and Cleveland Cavaliers to clinch a playoff berth. The Hawks faced the top-seeded Miami Heat in the first round, losing in five games.

Season-by-season records[]

Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, % = Percentage

Season W L % Playoffs Results
Buffalo Bisons / Tri-Cities Blackhawks
1946-47 19 25 .432
Tri-Cities Blackhawks
1947-48 30 30 .500 Won Opening Round
Lost Division Semifinals
Tri-Cities 3, Indianapolis 1
Minneapolis 2, Tri-Cities 0
1948-49 36 28 .563 Won Opening Round
Lost Division Semifinals
Tri-Cities 2, Sheboygan 0
Oshkosh 3, Tri-Cities 1
1949-50 29 35 .453 Lost Division Semifinals Anderson 2, Tri-Cities 1
1950-51 25 43 .368
Milwaukee Hawks
1951-52 17 49 .258
1952-53 27 44 .380
1953-54 21 51 .292
1954-55 26 46 .361
St. Louis Hawks
1955-56 33 39 .458 Won Division Semifinals
Lost Division Finals
St. Louis 2, Minneapolis 1
Fort Wayne 3, St. Louis 2
1956-57 34 38 .472 Won Division Finals
Lost NBA Finals
St. Louis 3, Minneapolis 2
Boston 4, St. Louis 3
1957-58 41 31 .569 Won Division Finals
Won NBA Finals
St. Louis 4, Fort Wayne 1
St. Louis 4, Boston 2
1958-59 49 23 .681 Lost Division Finals Minneapolis 4, St. Louis 2
1959-60 46 29 .613 Won Division Finals
Lost NBA Finals
St. Louis 4, Minneapolis 3
Boston 4, St. Louis 3
1960-61 51 28 .646 Won Division Finals
Lost NBA Finals
St. Louis 4, Los Angeles 3
Boston 4, St. Louis 1
1961-62 29 51 .363
1962-63 48 32 .600 Won Division Semifinals
Lost Division Finals
St. Louis 3, Detroit 1
Los Angeles 4, St. Louis 3
1963-64 46 34 .575 Won Division Semifinals
Lost Division Finals
St. Louis 3, Los Angeles 2
San Francisco 4, St. Louis 3
1964-65 45 35 .563 Lost Division Semifinals Baltimore 3, St. Louis 1
1965-66 36 44 .450 Won Division Semifinals
Lost Division Finals
St. Louis 3, Baltimore 0
Los Angeles 4, St. Louis 3
1966-67 39 42 .481 Won Division Semifinals
Lost Division Finals
St. Louis 3, Chicago 0
San Francisco 4, St. Louis 2
1967-68 56 26 .683 Lost Division Semifinals San Francisco 4, St. Louis 2
Atlanta Hawks
1968-69 48 34 .585 Won Division Semifinals
Lost Division Finals
Atlanta 4, San Diego 2
Los Angeles 4, Atlanta 1
1969-70 48 34 .585 Won Division Semifinals
Lost Division Finals
Atlanta 4, Chicago 1
Los Angeles 4, Atlanta 0
1970-71 36 46 .439 Lost Conference Semifinals New York 4, Atlanta 1
1971-72 36 46 .439 Lost Conference Semifinals Boston 4, Atlanta 2
1972-73 46 36 .561 Lost Conference Semifinals Boston 4, Atlanta 2
1973-74 35 47 .427
1974-75 31 51 .378
1975-76 29 53 .354
1976-77 31 51 .378
1977-78 41 41 .500 Lost First Round Washington 2, Atlanta 0
1978-79 46 36 .561 Won First Round
Lost Conference Semifinals
Atlanta 2, Houston 0
Washington 4, Atlanta 3
1979-80 50 32 .610 Lost Conference Semifinals Philadelphia 4, Atlanta 1
1980-81 31 51 .378
1981-82 42 40 .512 Lost First Round Philadelphia 2, Atlanta 0
1982-83 43 39 .524 Lost First Round Boston 2, Atlanta 1
1983-84 40 42 .488 Lost First Round Milwaukee 3, Atlanta 2
1984-85 34 48 .415
1985-86 50 32 .610 Won First Round
Lost Conference Semifinals
Atlanta 3, Detroit 1
Boston 4, Atlanta 1
1986-87 57 25 .695 Won First Round
Lost Conference Semifinals
Atlanta 3, Indiana 1
Detroit 4, Atlanta 1
1987-88 50 32 .610 Won First Round
Lost Conference Semifinals
Atlanta 3, Milwaukee 2
Boston 4, Atlanta 3
1988-89 52 30 .634 Lost First Round Milwaukee 3, Atlanta 2
1989-90 41 41 .500
1990-91 43 39 .524 Lost First Round Detroit 3, Atlanta 2
1991-92 38 44 .463
1992-93 43 39 .524 Lost First Round Chicago 3, Atlanta 0
1993-94 57 25 .695 Won First Round
Lost Conference Semifinals
Atlanta 3, Miami 2
Indiana 4, Atlanta 2
1994-95 42 40 .512 Lost First Round Indiana 3, Atlanta 0
1995-96 46 36 .561 Won First Round
Lost Conference Semifinals
Atlanta 3, Indiana 2
Orlando 4, Atlanta 1
1996-97 56 26 .683 Won First Round
Lost Conference Semifinals
Atlanta 3, Detroit 2
Chicago 4, Atlanta 1
1997-98 50 32 .610 Lost First Round Charlotte 3, Atlanta 1
1998-99 31 19 .620 Won First Round
Lost Conference Semifinals
Atlanta 3, Detroit 2
New York 4, Atlanta 0
1999-00 28 54 .341
2000-01 25 57 .305
2001-02 33 49 .402
2002-03 35 47 .427
2003-04 28 54 .341
2004-05 13 69 .159
2005-06 26 56 .317
2006-07 30 52 .366
2007-08 37 45 .451 Lost First Round Boston 4, Atlanta 3
2008-09 47 35 .573 Won First Round
Lost Conference Semifinals
Atlanta 4, Miami 3
Cleveland 4, Atlanta 0
2009-10 53 29 .646 Won First Round
Lost Conference Semifinals
Atlanta 4, Milwaukee 3
Orlando 4, Atlanta 0
2010-11 44 38 .537 Won First Round
Lost Conference Semifinals
Atlanta 4, Orlando 2
Chicago 4, Atlanta 2
2011-12 40 26 .606 Lost First Round Boston 4, Atlanta 2
2012-13 44 38 .537 Lost First Round Indiana 4, Atlanta 2
2013-14 38 44 .463 Lost First Round Indiana 4, Atlanta 3
2014-15 60 22 .732 Won First Round
Won Conference Semifinals
Lost Conference Finals
Atlanta 4, Brooklyn 2
Atlanta 4, Washington 2
Cleveland 4, Atlanta 0
2015-16 48 34 .585 Won First Round
Lost Conference Semifinals
Atlanta 4, Boston 2
Cleveland 4, Atlanta 0
2016-17 43 39 .524 Lost First Round Washington 4, Atlanta 2
2017-18 24 58 .293
2018-19 29 53 .354
2019-20 20 47 .299
2020-21 41 31 .569 Won First Round
Won Conference Semifinals
Lost Conference Finals
Atlanta 4, New York 1
Atlanta 4, Philadelphia 3
Milwaukee 4, Atlanta 2
2021-22 43 39 .524 Won Play-in game to advance to No. 8 seed game
Won Play-in game for No. 8 seed
Lost First Round
Atlanta 132, Charlotte 103
Atlanta 107, Cleveland 101
Miami 4, Atlanta 1
2022-23 41 41 .500 Won Play-in game for No. 7 seed
Lost First Round
Atlanta 116, Miami 105
Boston 4, Atlanta 2
2023-24 36 46 .439 Lost Play-in game to advance to No. 8 seed game Chicago 131, Atlanta 116
Totals 2766 2853 .492
Playoffs 138 183 .430 1 Championship


These are the Atlanta Hawks uniforms worn since the 2017-18 NBA season.


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Basketball Hall of Famers[]

Hagan, Pettit, Macauley, Lenny Wilkens, and Bob Ferry, all of whom played for the Hawks in St. Louis, have been inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.

Retired numbers[]

Atlanta Hawks retired numbers
No. Player Position Tenure
6 Bill Russell N/A Retired across NBA on August 11, 2022
9 Bob Pettit F 1954–1965
21 Dominique Wilkins F 1982–1994
23 Lou Hudson F/G 1966–1977
44 Pete Maravich G 1970–1974
55 Dikembe Mutombo C 1996–2001
59 Kasim Reed Mayor of
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).
Atlanta Atlanta] || 2010–2018
Ted Turner Ted Turner Owner 1977–2001


  • The Hawks retired number 59 jersey in honor of Kasim Reed, who was the mayor of Atlanta from 2010 to 2018.

Non-issued numbers[]

  • 40Jason Collier, C, 2004–2005. Never officially retired, but taken out of circulation.
  • 2007 – Rise Up
  • 2008 – Shock the World
  • 2009 – Now You Know
  • 2021 – #BelieveAtlanta

Current Roster[]

Players Coaches
Pos. No. Name Height Weight DOB (YYYY-MM-DD) From
G 45 Brown, Chaundee (TW) 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 1998-12-04 Michigan
G 13 Bogdanović, Bogdan 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 225 lb (102 kg) 1992-08-18 Serbia
C 15 Capela, Clint 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 256 lb (116 kg) 1994-05-18 Switzerland
F/C 20 Collins, John 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 226 lb (103 kg) 1997-09-23 Wake Forest
G 2 Cooper, Sharife (TW, FA) 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 176 lb (80 kg) 2001-06-11 Auburn
C 10 Dieng, Gorgui (FA) 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 248 lb (112 kg) 1990-01-18 Louisville
F 8 Gallinari, Danilo 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 236 lb (107 kg) 1988-08-08 Italy
G/F 3 Huerter, Kevin 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 198 lb (90 kg) 1998-08-27 Maryland
G/F 12 Hunter, De'Andre 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 221 lb (100 kg) 1997-12-02 Virginia
F 1 Johnson, Jalen 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 219 lb (99 kg) 2001-12-18 Duke
F 5 Knox, Kevin (FA) 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 1999-08-11 Kentucky
G/F 7 Luwawu-Cabarrot, Timothé (FA) 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 1995-05-09 France
G 4 Mays, Skylar (FA) 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 205 lb (93 kg) 1997-09-05 LSU
F/C 17 Okongwu, Onyeka 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 240 lb (109 kg) 2000-12-11 USC
G 6 Williams, Lou (FA) 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 175 lb (79 kg) 1986-10-27 South Gwinnett HS (GA)
G 0 Wright, Delon (FA) 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1992-04-26 Utah
G 11 Young, Trae 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 164 lb (74 kg) 1998-09-19 Oklahoma
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • (GL) On assignment to G League affiliate
  • (TW) Two-way affiliate player
  • Injured Injured

Last transaction: April 9, 2022


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  • Roger Potter 1949
  • Red Auerbach 1949–1950
  • Dave McMillan 1950–1951
  • Doxie Moore 1951–1952
  • Andrew Levane 1952–1953
  • William Holzman 1954–1956
  • Slater Martin 1957
  • Alex Hannum 1958
  • Andy Phillip 1958
  • Ed Macauley 1958–1960
  • Paul Seymour 1960–1961
  • Andrew Levane 1961–1962
  • Bob Pettit 1962
  • Harry Gallatin 1962–1964

Individual awards[]

Template:Columns-start All-time Leading scorer

NBA MVP of the Year

NBA Defensive Player of the Year

NBA Rookie of the Year

NBA Most Improved Player of the Year

  • Alan Henderson – 1998

NBA Coach of the Year

NBA Executive of the Year

  • Stan Kasten – 1986, 1987

Template:Column All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

Template:Column NBA All-Defensive First Team

NBA All-Defensive Second Team

  • Bill Bridges – 1969, 1970
  • Joe Caldwell – 1970
  • "Fast Eddie" Johnson – 1979, 1980
  • Dan Roundfield – 1981, 1984
  • Wayne Rollins – 1983
  • Mookie Blaylock – 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999
  • Dikembe Mutombo – 1999

NBA Rookie First Team

NBA Rookie Second Team



External links[]

Preceded by
Boston Celtics
NBA Champions
St. Louis Hawks

Succeeded by
Boston Celtics
1959 & 1960 & 1961 & 1962 & 1963 & 1964 & 1965 & 1966


National Basketball Association
Maurice Podoloff (1946 - 1963) ~ Walter Kennedy (1963 - 1975) ~ Larry O'Brien (1975 - 1984) ~ David Stern (1984 - 2014) ~ Adam Silver (2014 - present)
NBA Players ~ Foreign NBA Players ~ Former NBA Players
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NBA Coaches ~ NBA Owners
Annual Events
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