The Best Atlanta Hawks of All Time

Over 5.0K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Atlanta Hawks of All Time
Voting Rules
Please rank the players based only their time with the Hawks

Who are the best Atlanta Hawks of all time? The Atlanta Hawks began as the Buffalo Bison in 1946. After bouncing around and changing names a few times, before landing in St. Louis in 1955. Those years in St. Louis featured a number of the greatest players in Hawks history. Hall of Famer Bob Pettit was the star of those Hawks teams of the late '50s and the Hawks captured the franchise's only title in 1958 behind their all star forward. 

The team moved to Atlanta in 1968 where it has remained since. a handful of all stars and even Hall of Famers played for the Hawks during its time in Atlanta. However, despite having a number of great players, the Hawks have never advanced past the second round of the playoffs in the Atlanta era. Dominique Wilkins led some of the entertaining Atlanta teams in the 1980s. Wilkins is one of the most popular players in Hawks history, and one if its best. The high flying Wilkins was a prolific scorer and multiple time slam dunk champion. Doc Rivers, Tree Rollins and Spud Webb are other players who are considered some of the best Hawks ever and some of the best players of all time. The Joe Johnson, Al Horford, and Josh Smith core were all star players who have led the Hawks and were some of the best players of 2010s. More recently, Trae Young, Clint Capela, and John Collins led Atlanta to the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals. 

This is the list of the best Atlanta Hawks of all time. Vote or rerank this list according to who you think is the greatest Atlanta Hawks player of all time. 

Most divisive: Christian Laettner
Ranked by
  • Dominique Wilkins
    Small forward
    3,004 votes
    • Birthplace: Paris, France

    Undoubtedly the face of the Atlanta Hawks franchise, "The Human Highlight Film" himself, Dominique Wilkins stood head and shoulders above other players with his unparalleled athleticism and electrifying scoring ability. Netting over 23,000 career points, Wilkins was a nine-time NBA All-Star, and his unforgettable Slam Dunk Contest battles against Michael Jordan still echo through history as some of the game's most memorable moments. Though he never secured a championship, Wilkins' impact on the court remains deeply ingrained in basketball lore, and his number 21 jersey hangs in the rafters as a testament to his legendary career.

  • Bob Pettit
    Power forward
    2,189 votes
    • Birthplace: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

    Grit and determination radiated from Bob Pettit's game, and it's those qualities that define him as one of the greatest Hawks of all time. Pettit, a two-time MVP and 11-time All-Star, transformed the power forward position into an unstoppable force, even going toe-to-toe with Bill Russell during an era where the game was marked by big men dominance. His Herculean effort in the 1958 NBA Finals, where he scored 50 points in a winning Game 6 effort, handed the Hawks their only championship - a crowning achievement that cements Pettit's place among the all-time greats.

  • Dikembe Mutombo
    2,109 votes
    • Birthplace: Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

    The unmistakable finger wag became synonymous with the defensive prowess of Dikembe Mutombo, who swatted away shots like few others before or since. A four-time Defensive Player of the Year and eight-time All-Star, Mutombo's impact as a shot-blocker and rebounder set the standard for modern big men in the league. Though his tenure in Atlanta was shorter than others, his iconic presence and impenetrable defense left an indelible mark on the franchise.

  • Pete Maravich
    Shooting guard
    2,092 votes
    • Birthplace: Aliquippa, Pennsylvania

    Pistol Pete Maravich, the captivating ball-handling wizard, dazzled fans with his mesmerizing playmaking ability and scoring prowess. A five-time All-Star, Maravich was ahead of his time with his flashy passes and unmatched court vision, paving the way for future point guards to follow in his footsteps. Though he never won a championship with the Hawks, Maravich's unmistakable flair left a lasting impact on the game that is still celebrated today.

  • Moses Malone
    1,721 votes
    • Birthplace: Petersburg, Virginia

    Chairman of the Boards Moses Malone earned his nickname with his ferocious rebounding, imposing size, and relentless pursuit of the basketball. He spent only three seasons with the Hawks, but his impact as a dominant center was felt the moment he stepped on the court, earning two All-Star appearances during his tenure. Malone's tenacity down low put opposing big men on notice, and his powerful presence significantly contributed to the team's successes in the late 1980s.

  • Joe Johnson
    Shooting guard
    1,532 votes
    • Birthplace: Little Rock, Arkansas

    Cooler than the other side of the pillow, Joe Johnson earned the nickname "Iso Joe" for his ability to score almost at will during his tenure with the Atlanta Hawks. A seven-time All-Star and lethal shooter from beyond the arc, Johnson was a proven clutch performer who could take over games in the blink of an eye. His smooth style and versatile scoring skillset unquestionably place him among the best Hawks of all time.