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Although the Atlanta Hawks saw three previous homes before making their way down to Atlanta, they have called Georgia's capital home since 1968. The beginnings of the franchise date back to 1946, when the Tri-Cities Blackhawks were formed as part of the start-up Basketball Association of America. The league did not last long before merging with the National Basketball League to become what is known today as the National Basketball Association in 1949.
Since making their nest in Atlanta, fans who have bought Hawks basketball tickets over the years have not witnessed the levels of success that they had hoped. As of 2010, the team had not been able to advance past the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the NBA playoffs. But while their team history is not long, one player stands out among all the rest. In 1982, the team acquired rookie Dominique Wilkins from the Jazz in hopes of finding a superstar. Little did they know that he would become the "Human Highlight Reel."
In his 12 seasons playing for the Atlanta Hawks, Dominique Wilkins helped the Hawks reach the playoffs nine times, including a stretch from 1985 to 1989 when the team was among the Eastern Conference elite. When people talk about the career of Dominique Wilkins in a Hawks uniform, they would be hard-pressed not to mention his performance in Game 7 of the 1988 Eastern Conference Semifinals. Matched up against Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics, Wilkins carried his team for the entire game, including a fourth quarter in which Bird and 'Nique traded baskets until an exciting finish. The Celtics won the game 118-116, with Wilkins finishing with 47 points.