The Atlanta Hawks franchise is one of the oldest in the NBA. They originated in 1949 as the Tri-Cities Blackhawks, spent 1951 to 1955 as the Milwaukee Hawks, enjoyed a great deal of success from 1955 to 1968 as the St. Louis Hawks, and finally in 1968 moved to Atlanta and became the team they are today. Among the best players in Atlanta Hawks franchise history are Hall of Famers Bob Pettit, Dominique Wilkins, Pete Maravich, and Lenny Wilkens.
One of the best players in Atlanta Hawks franchise history, Bob Pettit led the Hawks’ to their only NBA championship in 1958. With career averages of 26.4 points, 16.2 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game, Pettit was an 11-time All-Star and enjoyed ten straight seasons on the All-NBA First Team. Pettit won NBA MVP awards in 1956 and 1959 and is a member of the basketball Hall of Fame. Pettit’s number nine jersey is retired by the Hawks.
Dominique Wilkins was the face of the Hawks during the 1980s. Wilkins spent the first 11 and a half seasons of his career in Atlanta tallying 23,292 points to become the all-time leading scorer in the history of the Atlanta Hawks. With averages of 26.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game as a Hawk, Wilkins made six All-NBA teams with Atlanta. He is the most recent Hawk to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. As with Pettit, the Hawks retired Wilkins’s number 21 jersey.
Spending his first four seasons with the team, Pistol Pete Maravich is one of the best players in Atlanta Hawks franchise history. In his time as a Hawk, Maravich averaged 24.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game. He made two All-Star teams (five in his career), an All-NBA team (four in his career), and the All-Rookie team with the Hawks. Like Pettit and Wilkins, Maravich is a member of the Hall of Fame.
Before he coached the team, Lenny Wilkens was one of the best players in Atlanta Hawks franchise history. Wilkens was named to nine All-Star teams and won the MVP in the 1971 All-Star game. He led the league in total assists twice and averaged 5.5 per game in eight seasons with the St. Louis Hawks. He added 15.5 points and 4.9 rebounds with the Hawks and was named to the Hall of Fame as a player in 1989 and again as a coach in 1998.
Spending 11 seasons with the team between St. Louis and Atlanta, Lou Hudson is one of the best players in Atlanta Hawks franchise history. Hudson had averages of 22.0 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game with the Hawks, making six All-Star teams and one All-NBA team. Lou Hudson’s number 23 jersey hangs retired in the Atlanta Hawks rafters.
Other top players in Atlanta Hawks franchise history include Moses Malone, Joe Johnson, Kevin Willis, John Drew, Dikembe Mutombo, Dan Roundfield, Zelmo Beaty, and Doc Rivers.