The team's origins can be traced to the establishment of the?Buffalo Bisons?in 1946 in?Buffalo, New York, a member of the?National Basketball League?(NBL) owned by?Ben Kerner?and?Leo Ferris.?After 38 days in Buffalo, the team moved to?Moline, Illinois, where they were renamed the?Tri-Cities Blackhawks.?In 1949, they joined the NBA as part of the merger between the NBL and the?Basketball Association of America?(BAA), and briefly had?Red Auerbach?as coach. In 1951, Kerner moved the team to?Milwaukee, where they changed their name to the?Hawks. Kerner and the team moved again in 1955 to?St. Louis, where they won their only?NBA championship?in 1958.?The St. Louis Hawks moved to Atlanta in 1968, when Kerner sold the franchise to Thomas Cousins and former Georgia Governor?Carl Sanders.
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