History and League Success
The franchise began in the National Basketball League (NBL, one of two leagues which would merge and form the NBA) as the Buffalo Bisons in 1946. The team lasted a mere 38 days in Buffalo before relocating to Moline, Illinois and renaming themselves the Tri-Cities Blackhawks ("Tri-Cities" representing the metropolitan area of Moline and neighboring Rock Island, Illinois and Davenport, Iowa; the area is now known as the "Quad Cities" with Bettendorf, Iowa becoming a major city in its own right). The Blackhawks would later become one of the original six NBA franchises when the NBL and the rival Basketball Association of America merged.
However, two years later it was clear that the Tri-Cities area was too small to support the franchise, so it relocated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin and changed its name to the Milwaukee Hawks. They lasted four years there before relocating again to St. Louis, Missouri.
In St. Louis the team had its most success, making four NBA Finals (1957, 1958, 1960, and 1961), competing against the Boston Celtics all four times, winning once (1958). The franchise has not won a championship since then (and has not even appeared in the NBA Finals since); the drought is the second-longest in the NBA (only the Sacramento Kings have a longer title drought) and among the longest in all of professional sports.
Problems with St. Louis' arena situation and the inability to reach a successful resolution resulted in the team relocating again, this time in 1968 to Atlanta.
Because of Atlanta's association with Martin Luther King (being his birthplace, the central location of his civil rights activities, and final resting place), the Hawks annually host a home game on the MLK holiday (one of two teams that does so, the Memphis Grizzlies are the other).
NBA Southeast Division Rivals
- http://www.nba.com/hawks/ Official Website
- http://www.nba.com/hawks/publications/Publications.html 2007-08 Atlanta Hawks media guide