The Illawarra has been dumped as part of the Hawks NBL team name as part of the club's new ownership group.
In a shock announcement on Wednesday morning, the NBL said the team will simply be known as the 'Hawks', in a bid to expand their footprint across Canberra, regional NSW and potentially other venues.
A former Sydney Kings owner and ex-Philadelphia 76ers general manager will lead the new ownership group, which was placed in voluntary administration at the end of Simon's Stratford's time of ownership.
NBL Commissioner Jeremy Loeliger defended the move, claiming the Hawks will still be based in Wollongong.
"The intention is for Wollongong to remain the primary base for the Hawks, supported by positive discussions with Venues NSW about upgrading the WIN Entertainment Centre to ensure we have the best venue possible to deliver world class entertainment for Hawks fans," he said.
"There are also opportunities for the Hawks to grow their fan base across the region following their success in taking games to Canberra in recent seasons. I wish our newest team owners the very best for the coming season.
"We are confident that once we get back out on the court, the NBL is going to be as hotly contested as ever."
Rejecting a bid by prominent Illawarra businessman Tory Lavalle and LaMelo Ball, who played in Wollongong last season to boost his chances of becoming the No.1 NBA draft pick, the NBL announced the ownership group on Wednesday morning.
The syndicate includes Australian entrepreneur and former co-owner of the Sydney Kings, Dorry Kordahi, prominent former NBA executive Bryan Colangelo and US businessman and basketball influencer Michael Proctor.
"There was widespread interest from a number of overseas and local parties, and we believe this is the best credentialled group to deliver long term success on and off the court for our proud foundation club," NBL owner Larry Kestelman announced.
"They have a proven track record in business and basketball to be able to take the Hawks to the next level as the NBL continues on its strong growth trajectory after five consecutive years of record attendances and broadcast audiences as well as increased global recognition."
Kestelman said the door was still open to other investment.
It comes after the Hawks slumped to a 5-23 record last season to finish last.
"The syndicate is still open to other business people from Australia and overseas to be involved," Kestelman said.
"The decision in choosing the right owners was not an easy one and I want to acknowledge and thank all those who were part of the thorough process undertaken.
"I would like, in particular, to thank LaMelo Ball and his organisation for the support and interest shown in wanting to achieve the best outcome for the team that has helped him have a chance at being the number one NBA Draft pick.
"We hope we can explore future opportunities with LaMelo and wish him all the best for the NBA Draft in October and his ambition to be the best ever player in the game."