A couple of caveats to get out of the way before we start this endeavor. This list is subjective and is my opinion only. There is no doubt in my mind that there are other worthy candidates and be sure to let me know who they are in the comments section. Also, I am looking at this from the entire franchise history of the Hawks and not just from their years in Atlanta. It might be enjoyable to revisit this discussion later with an Atlanta specific group.
Three names clearly stood out above the rest the moment I started looking at this. Its not a coincidence in my opinion that those three are the only three players to have their numbers retired by the franchise.
If there was an undisputed face of the franchise it would be the Human Highlight Film Dominique Wilkins. Very few will dispute that but Nique's accomplishments speak for themselves. He participated in nine All-Star Games, and is the franchise's all-time leader in points, games played, field goals, and points per game average. More so his name is synonymous with the word Atlanta Hawks and is immediately who you think of when professional basketball in Atlanta is mentioned.
Pettit was an 11-time All-Star for the St. Louis Hawks. He won the 1955 NBA Rookie of the Year award and was All-Star Game MVP four different times. In addition he was named to the All-NBA first team 10 times. He is second in franchise history in points scored and owns an identical 26.4 points per game career average which ties him with Wilkins for the best in franchise history.
Hudson was another dynamic scorer who played 11 of his 13 NBA seasons with the Hawks. He is third on the franchises all-time scoring list behind Wilkins and Pettit and was an NBA All-Star six times. He was named All-NBA second team in 1970 after averaging 25.4 points on 53 percent shooting. Lou was with the Hawks through the 1977 season before finishing his career in Los Angeles.
Those were the three obvious names but deciding who the fourth member of the Hawks' Mount Rushmore proved to be a little more difficult. There was a lot of worthy candidates including Pete Maravich, Kevin Willis, Steve Smith, Dikembe Mutombo, Richie Guerin and Mike Fratello. Joe Johnson is another name that ranks highly among the best to ever wear a Hawks uniform.
However, I chose to go with another man whose leadership from the sidelines helped lead Atlanta out of one era and into another successful one.
With Lenny Wilkens as head coach, Atlanta transitioned from the Dominique Wilkins era into another successful period led by the likes of Mookie Blaylock, Steve Smith and Dikembe Mutombo. Those teams were often overlooked but they were solid in every way much like their head coach. Wilkens had a successful NBA career as a player and as a head coach where he ranks among the best all-time. His 310 wins is third all-time in franchise history behind Guerin's 327 and Mike Fratello's 324, but Wilkens coached one less season than both and is the franchise leader in winning percentage.
Now I want to hear from you. Who did I omit that should be on this list. What about an Atlanta Hawks only Mount Rushmore? Let me know in the comments section.