Atlanta Hawks Team History
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.
Cable network entrepreneur and Atlanta Braves owner Ted Turner bought the team n 1976, Turner bought the Atlanta Hawks, partially to provide programming for WTCG. The Hawks were the only NBA team in the Southeastern United States, 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.
- Philips Arena Coming!
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 didn’t 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.
Following the 1997 playoffs, the Hawks then moved back to Alexander Memorial Coliseum at the Georgia Institute of Technology, with the Georgia Dome used for larger-capacity games, until Phillips Arena opened before the 1999 – 2000 season. Philips Arena is a multi-purpose indoor arena located in Atlanta, Georgia. It was completed and opened in 1999 to replace and occupying the former site of the Omni Coliseum, at a cost of $213.5 million. The arena seats 18,047 for basketball.
In March 2004, the team was sold to a group of executives by the name of Atlanta Spirit LLC by Time Warner, who inherited the Hawks and Braves upon its merger with Turner Broadcasting in 1996, along with the Atlanta Thrashers pro ice hockey team now the Winnipeg Jets, with which the Hawks shared the Philips Arena, which replaced the Omni. During the off-season, the Hawks sent Jason Terry, Alan 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 – 2005 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.
The Atlanta Hawks are a professional basketball team based in Atlanta. The Hawks compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member team of the league’s Eastern Conference Southeast Division. The team plays its home games at Philips Arena.
The team’s origins can be traced to the establishment of the Tri-Cities Blackhawks in 1946 in Moline, Illinois, a member of the National Basketball League (NBL) and owned by Ben Kerner & Leo Ferris. In 1949, they joined the NBA as part of the merger between the NBL and the Basketball Association of America (BAA), and had Red Auerbach as coach briefly. 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.
Tri-Cities – Milwaukee – St. Louis – Atlanta
1949 – Present National Basketball Association
1946 – 1949 National Basketball League
Hawks – The Tri-City Blackhawk’s name was shorted to just Hawks after the team moved to Milwaukee and continued to St. Louis and Atlanta.
1968 – Present Atlanta Hawks
1955 – 1968 St. Louis Hawks
1951 – 1955 Milwaukee Hawks
1946 – 1951 Tri-Cities Blackhawks
NBA Championships 0
1999 – Present Philips Arena
1997 – 1999 Georgia Dome & Alexander Memorial Coliseum
1972 – 1997 The Omni
1968 – 1972 Alexander Memorial Coliseum
1955 – 1968 Kiel Auditorium
1951 – 1955 Milwaukee Arena
1946 – 1951 Wharton Field House
2015 – Present Tony Ressler
2004 – 2015 Atlanta Spirit, LLC
1977 – 2004 Ted Turner/Turner Broadcasting
1968 – 1976 Tom Cousins/Cousins Corporation, Carl Sanders
1946 – 1968 Ben Kerner
9 Bob Pettit
21 Dominique Wilkins
23 Lou Hudson
55 Dikembe Mutombo
– Ted Turner
2014 – Present Harry the Hawk
1996 – 2013 Skyhawk
*Blue is this team’s history