The Atlanta Hawks have announced that their upcoming College Park, GA-based NBA Gatorade League team will be known as the College Park Skyhawks. Set to arrive to College Park this fall, the Skyhawks will play home games at the new Gateway Center @ College Park.
“We are excited to introduce the Skyhawks to College Park and bring the future stars of the Atlanta Hawks and our one-of-a-kind entertainment to the Gateway Center,” Hawks CEO Steve Koonin said. “With its proximity, resources and most importantly its enthusiasm, we could not find a better home for the Skyhawks than the city of College Park.”
The Skyhawks will play their home games at the Gateway Center @ College Park, a multi-purpose sports and entertainment venue. The venue will feature 5,000 seats for events such as concerts and convocations and 3,500 seats available for the Hawks NBA G League basketball games. The Skyhawks will serve as the venue’s anchor tenant when it opens in November 2019.
“With steady progress underway involving development and construction of the Arena @ College Park Gateway Center, the City of College Park is extremely excited to witness the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club’s unveiling the name of the College Park Skyhawks NBA G League affiliate,” College Park Mayor Jack P. Longino said. “We are likewise also proud of the resulting partnership that enabled this major achievement to come to fruition, encouraging additional exciting outcomes for our community in the coming years.”
“The City of College Park is delighted to welcome the Skyhawks to the campus of the Gateway Center. As we move towards completion of the Arena, the excitement of high-profile sports entertainment coming to the Southside will grow exponentially. We are appreciative of the Atlanta Hawks organization for having the vision of inclusion,” said Mercedes Miller, Executive Director of the Georgia International Convention Center (GICC). “We believe that Gateway Center with the GICC, the Skytrain and hotel package has all the components to make this partnership successful.”
The NBA G League, the NBA’s official minor league, has grown from eight teams during its inaugural campaign in 2001-02 to feature a record 28 teams for the 2019-20 season, the league’s 19th. The Atlanta Hawks are one of 25 NBA teams to own an NBA G League affiliate.
“Having grown up playing in College Park in the Hawks’ backyard, I couldn’t be more excited to welcome the Skyhawks to my hometown,” said NBA G League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim. “I’m thrilled to introduce the NBA G League’s brand of exciting, family-friendly basketball to College Park and look very forward to watching a game there next season.”
The Skyhawks name has a rich history in Georgia. One of the former mascots of the Atlanta Hawks, the high-flying SkyHawk, entertained crowds from Nov. 1996 before retiring during the 2013-14 season. The Skyhawks also share their name with the athletes of Point University, an accredited, nonprofit institution in West Point, GA that educates and equips a diverse Christian community. Founded in 1937 as Atlanta Christian College, the university’s historic location until 2012 was in East Point, GA, less than two miles away from the soon-to-be home of the College Park Skyhawks.
Technically, this serves as a rebrand of the G League’s current Erie BayHawks. The Atlanta Hawks will shift that club to College Park after the 2018-19 season, with the New Orleans Pelicans set to launch a new incarnation of the BayHawks next fall that will play in Erie before relocating to a renovated Legacy Arena in Birmingham, AL as early as 2022.