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The NBA Atlanta Hawks basketball team play in the Eastern Conference’s Southeast Division as part of the National Basketball Association. The Hawks are based out of Atlanta, Georgia and play at Phillips Arena.
In 1946 the franchise was originally formed as the Buffalo Bisons. They were based in Buffalo, NY and were a member of the National Basketball League. However thirteen games into the first season the team was moved to Moline, Illinois and they were renamed the Tri-Cities Blackhawks. When the NBL merged with the Basketball Association of America to form the NBA, the Blackhawks were one of the 17 original NBA teams. The franchise moved again in 1951 to Milwaukee, Wisconsin and were renamed the Milwaukee Hawks and then in 1955 to St. Louis, Missouri.
The Hawks made it into the NBA Finals in 1957 but lost to the Boston Celtics. The Hawks once again in 1958 were in the NBA Finals and beat the Boston Celtics this time for the Hawks only NBA championship.
The Hawks were sold and relocated to Atlanta, Georgia in 1968. In 1982, Atlanta acquired Dominique Wilkins and a year later Mike Fratello became their head coach. The Hawks from 1985 to 1989 were one of the NBA’s elite teams. Each season they won at least 50 games. However the Hawks never went past the Eastern Conference semifinals, losing to either Detroit or Boston as the eventual NBA or Eastern conference champion. In 1993 Lenny Wilkens became the new head coach. However the Hawks still weren’t able to advance in the playoffs.
The popular Steve Smith was traded by the Hawks to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Jim Jackson and Isaiah Rider in 1999. The Hawks ended up releasing the troubled Rider and Jackson was traded the next season. It was nine years before the Hawks made it back into the playoffs. In 2008, Atlanta returned to the playoffs and made three straight appearances following the 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons.