NEW YORK – The NBA Development League and the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club today announced that the Hawks have acquired the right to own and operate an NBA D-League team that will play in College Park, Ga., beginning with the 2019-20 season. Additionally, the City of College Park has agreed to construct a 3500-seat arena in which the new franchise will serve as the primary tenant. With the purchase, the Hawks become the 16th NBA team to own and operate an NBA D-League affiliate, while the NBA D-League grows to 23 teams.
“Today’s an exciting day in the NBA D-League as we welcome the Hawks and the City of College Park to our growing family,” said NBA D-League President Malcolm Turner. “With the addition of the Hawks to our ownership ranks, more than half of NBA teams now own and operate their NBA D-League affiliate – an important step toward our goal of having a 30-team minor league.”
“Securing a D-League team for the Atlanta Hawks was among our top priorities when our ownership group took over the team,” said Tony Ressler, Atlanta Hawks Principal Owner and Chairman. “Coach Bud and Wes Wilcox would agree that having a local D-League franchise will play a significant role in building a championship-caliber team by helping us develop players, like the six now on our roster who have D-League experience. We would like to thank the City of College Park for becoming the host city of what will be another exciting part of our community and the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club.”
The new arena will be built at the Gateway Center, a conglomeration of upscale Marriott hotels and office space surrounding the Georgia International Convention Center, connected to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport via light rail. The arena is scheduled to be completed by summer 2019.
“We are extremely excited about the Hawks’ D-League team calling the City of College Park its home,” stated Mayor Jack P. Longino. “Our Georgia International Convention Center is a world-class facility and now has a world-class professional sports team. It’s a win for everyone!”
“I would like to thank Mayor Longino for his leadership as we worked toward bringing professional basketball to College Park. We are excited to deliver the Hawks brand of sports and entertainment while building bridges to this thriving community,” Hawks CEO Steve Koonin said.
Six current Hawks have NBA D-League experience, including starters Kent Bazemore and Dennis Schröder, while assistant coaches Darvin Ham and Taylor Jenkins both began their coaching careers on NBA D-League benches. Additionally, Hawks General Manager Wes Wilcox was the inaugural general manager of the NBA D-League’s Canton Charge. Last season, the Hawks assigned three players to the NBA D-League.
“We are excited to have our affiliate based in College Park. The close proximity will allow us to maximize our relationship and have the highest level of synergy possible while providing a great place to develop future Hawks draft picks and players. Player development is at the core of our basketball program and our affiliate will be a critical component in that process,” President of Basketball Operations/Head Coach Mike Budenholzer said. “With Wes, Darvin, Taylor and our players, we have seen firsthand the positive impact the league can have in preparing players, front office staff and coaches for meaningful roles in the NBA.”
The NBA D-League’s 16th season tips off tomorrow, Nov. 11, with a record 22 teams. Last season, 32 NBA D-League players earned 42 GATORADE Call-Ups to the NBA, while 68 NBA players were assigned to the NBA D-League more than 300 times for injury rehabilitation and development. More than 40 percent of the last five NBA Draft classes have honed their skills in the NBA D-League, including 10 2015 first-round selections.
About the Atlanta Hawks
With a bold identity and strong new ownership, the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club and Philips Arena remain committed to making Atlantans proud on the court and off. The 2014-15 Southeast Division Champions, the Hawks have made the postseason in nine consecutive seasons and reached the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history in 2015. Off the court, the organization has built a culture of inclusion, diversity and innovation, all with a touch of Southern Hospitality. It continues into the community where the organization builds bridges through basketball, whether by constructing and refurbishing courts in Atlanta neighborhoods, providing scholarships to our basketball camps, or surprising and delighting our fans with unique Atlanta Hawks experiences. Atlanta Hawks Membership, which includes your seat for every home game for the 2016-17 regular season games, is on sale now at www.hawks.com/membership or by calling 866-715-1500! For more information on the Hawks, log on to www.hawks.com today or follow us on twitter @ATLHawks.
About the City of College Park
College Park is home to the world’s most traveled airport, in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International. Last year alone, it served over 101-million passengers. The city offers great business incentives – and is home to the world headquarters of Chick-fil-A. 15,000 residents call College Park home, attracted by Woodward Academy, the largest private school on the U.S. mainland. Georgia’s newest and second largest convention center, the Georgia International Convention Center (GICC) is uniquely positioned to offer an unprecedented hospitality experience, and is now taking flight as the new home for the Atlanta Hawks’ D-League team.
About the NBA Development League
The NBA Development League is the NBA’s official minor league, preparing players, coaches, officials, trainers, and front-office staff for the NBA while acting as the league’s research and development laboratory. Featuring 22 teams with direct affiliations with NBA franchises for the 2016-17 season, the league offers elite professional basketball at an affordable price in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere. An all-time high 38 percent of all NBA players at the end of the 2015-16 season boasted NBA D-League experience. In fostering the league’s connection to the community, its teams, players and staff promote health and wellness, support local needs and interests, and assist in educational development through NBA D-League Cares programs. Fans can watch all NBA D-League games on nbadleague.com.