At the races

3 Fun Facts About the Atlanta Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks basketball club started life in 1946 as the Buffalo Bisons. 1946 was a wild year. The Buffalo Bisons football team was also founded in 1946, and also were originally called the Bisons. What, two teams in one town with the same name? It was actually common in those days to name a Buffalo sports team “The Bisons.”

A fan remembers: “Yes, it was confusing as hell. Someone would say, ‘Are you going to the Bisons game?’, and you would say, ‘Football, basketball, baseball, hockey, lacrosse, curling, Olympic decathlon or checkers?'”

The Buffalo Bisons struggled to gain fans, and were only in town for 38 days when the GM, Leo Ferris, decided to move the team to the Tri-Cities area, which consists of Davenport, Iowa; Rock Island, Illinois; and Moline, Illinois. Upon hearing the news that the team would be moving to the Tri-Cities, each and every team member said, “What the hell is a Tri-Cities?”

But the Tri-Cities is noteworthy because that is where they changed the name to Blackhawks. The Blackhawks then became one of the original founding teams of the NBA when it formed in 1949. It wasn’t long before they moved to Milwaukee as the Hawks. A basketball expert explained, “First they were the Blackhawks, then the Hawks. It’s kind of like how Kanye West became Kanye, then Kimye. Pretty soon he will be a symbol: The Artist Formerly Known for Recording Good Music.”