Atlanta Hawks is Atlanta's professional basketball team, associated with National Basketball Association (NBA) as an original franchise since 1949, when the league was established. Although the Hawks won its only championship in 1958, the team has given birth to legendary basketball players whose successful careers can never fade in history. We have chosen the top 6 players of Atlanta Hawks who have made their mark into NBA history and will forever be known as basketball legends. Without furtherdelay, we will shed light on the success stories of these top six Hawks of all time.
Wilkins, born in 1960, played for the Atlanta Hawks’ from 1982 till 1994. He was the leading scorer of the team. He was labelled "Human Highlight Film" for his outstanding showmanship and athletic prowess on the court. Dominique Wilkins demonstrated a tremendous brand of sportsmanship that made him an unstoppable scorer. In 1979, he joined the University of Georgia with a reputation of a thrilling player. Wilkins played beside Terry Fair and LaVon Merin in his college years and was known as SSEC Men’s Basketball Player of the Year. However, he left the college soon after his junior year and joined Atlanta Hawks in 1982. His average remained 26.4 points in his 12 years career with Atlanta Hawks. However, his highest was in 1986 when he poured in 30.3 points/game, a league-leading average. The nine-time All-Star, the greatest scorer for Hawks, and a slam dunk champion is still associated with NBA as an announcer on Sports South for Hawks games.
Bob Pettit has his entire career marked as a Hawk. Petit received scholarship offers from 14 universities. However, he accepted the one at nearby LSU (Louisiana State University) to play close to his home before joining Hawks in 1954 and remained with them till 1965. He was there with them when the team was playing in Milwaukee and then with St. Louis. The two-time MVP had an average of 26.4 points/NBA game, the seventh-highest average in the league history. He is among the players who gave the Hawks their only NBA championship in 1958. Pettit remained an All-Star in his 11 seasons and was put ten times on the All-NBA First Team. He still holds the record of top two NBA All-Star Game rebounding performances in 1958 and 1962. He also has the second-highest average of 20.4.
Hagan, aka “Li'l Abner,” started his basketball career at the University of Kentucky under Adolph Rupp, the legendary coach. He won the NCAA championship with his team in 1951.
The great player stayed with the Hawks from 1956 till 1966, where he was marked as a leading scorer and a known forerunner of hook shots. He also became NBA All-Star six times in NBA history. His average remained 18 points/game in his 11 seasons with the Hawks. In his breakout 2nd season, Hagan reached an average of a double-double with 20 points/game. The score contributed immensely in taking Hawks to their only championship title in 1958.
John Drew was Hawk’s swingman from 1974 to 1982. He started his career in J.F. Shields High School in Alabama, where he led the school team to its first victory of the state championship title. He was supervised by Willie Averett and played with Jerome Sanders, both known to be members of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. Drew became NBA All-star twice, which gave a great start to his career. His five seasons have an average of 20 points/game. However, in 1982-1983, Dominique Wilkins replaced him when the team had to trade him to Utah Jazz. He was the fifth leading scorer for the Hawks.
Clint Capela, the swiss player, is included in the list as a current successful player of the Atlanta Hawks. He has had a difficult childhood in foster care homes, but his fascination for basketball after meeting the Swiss legend, Thabo Sefolosha, gave him the ambition to become a great basketball player. He worked hard when he joined Atlanta Hawks in 2020. His outstanding performance was why the team could become competent in 2020-2021 from being one of the worst teams on the defense side in 2019-2020. His prowess and durability on the glass, combined with Hawk’s quarterbacking, was a key ingredient that enabled the Hawks to leap and stand as one of the competent teams of the NBA.
People honor them by wearing their custom basketball uniforms as a fan of their performance and success. However, it is not enough to celebrate the top Hawks. The actual tribute is to understand how these legends worked on their weaknesses, took criticism, and held on to their strengths. Those who couldn’t work on their weak and strong points soon lost their success. We should acknowledge and respect these basketball legends for their perseverance that led them to the path of success