Ranking the greatest Atlanta Hawks of all time
The Atlanta Hawks have plenty of history, having been around in one form or another since the 1949-50 NBA season. Prior to moving to Atlanta in the late-1960’s, they set up shop in Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Louis, and plenty of notable names have passed through the franchise.
Join us now as we rank the top five Atlanta Hawks of all time.
5. Pete Maravich
Position: Shooting guard
Years active: 1971-1980
Accolades: Hall of Fame, 5x All-Star, 4x All-NBA, 1x scoring champion
"Pistol Pete" is known as one of the best shooters in basketball history, and rightfully so. The Hawks drafted Maravich with the third pick of the 1970 NBA Draft, and he enjoyed four strong seasons with the team (even though he played in an era without a 3-point line, which would’ve helped him immensely).
He isn’t higher on this list, though, because he was dealt in 1974 as part of a blockbuster deal that involved draft picks used to select David Thompson and Alex English.
4. Lenny Wilkens
Position: Point guard
Years active: 1961-1975
Accolades: Hall of Fame, 9x All-Star, 1x assists champion
One of the premier point guards of his era, Wilkens spent most of the 1960’s with the St. Louis Hawks and made five of his nine All-Star teams while part of the organization. He also developed into a strong scorer and averaged more than 20 points per game in his final season with the club.
3. Dikembe Mutombo
Years active: 1992-2009
Accolades: Hall of Fame, 8x All-Star, 6x All-Defensive Team, 4x Defensive Player of the Year, 3x All-NBA, 3x block champion, 2x rebounding champion
Before he was blocking groceries in Geico commercials, Mutombo emerged as one of the premier shot-blockers in basketball history. He spent four and a half seasons with the Hawks in the late-1990’s, and he set a personal record with a league-best 14.1 rebounds per game during the 1999-2000 campaign.
2. Dominique Wilkins
Position: Small forward
Years active: 1983-1999
Accolades: Hall of Fame, 9x All-Star, 7x All-NBA, 1x scoring champion
Dubbed "The Human Highlight Reel" for his gravity-defying dunks, Wilkins found himself going blow-for-blow with the best of his era, including a legendary showdown with Michael Jordan at the 1988 Slam Dunk Contest.
Wilkins made nine consecutive All-Star Teams and won the 1985-86 scoring title, but he’s not tops on this list…
1. Bob Pettit
Position: Power forward
Years active: 1955-1965
Accolades: Hall of Fame, 11x All-Star, 11x All-NBA, 2x MVP, 4x All-Star Game MVP, 2x scoring champion, 1x NBA champion
Bob Pettit led the Hawks to the only championship in franchise history. "Big Blue" spent his entire career with the Hawks, twice led the NBA in scoring, and retired with an average of 16.2 rebounds per game.
He played in a bygone era, so much of his accomplishments are often underappreciated, but Pettit remains one of the top big men in league history.