The Illawarra Mercury reporting team is bringing you a weekly series of behind-the-scenes stories, exclusive to our subscribers. Today, sports editor Tim Barrow shares his take on the shock Hawks announcement.
What's in a name?
Everything and nothing all at once, apparently.
The NBL announcement lobbed at 7.59 on Wednesday morning, after the Mercury had asked the NBL for an interview and update regarding the ownership situation on Monday.
Instead, we had to wait until Wednesday at 10.30am to chat to league owner Larry Kestelman, two hours after it was made public.
Kestelman (pictured above) is adamant there is 'zero intention' to take the Hawks training and playing base away from Wollongong, but there was still reason enough to remove Illawarra from the new name.
How many games will be played at WIN Entertainment Centre next season, whenever it begins at the end of the COVID-19 crisis, remains to be seen.
The financial incentives of playing games in Canberra, Newcastle, elsewhere regional NSW or interstate dangle like a carrot for the new owners.
It's all balanced against trying to boost the corporate and fan support by building a successful team in Wollongong, when there will be fewer games in the heartland.
And unlike with Arun Jagatramka bailing the club out at the last minute, or James Spencely taking over, this time there was a viable alternative.
The Hawks had an Illawarra businessman in Tory Lavalle and the NBA influence of LaMelo Ball and agent Jermaine Jackson pushing their own case to take over, a bid which would have certainly kept the Illawarra name.
So now, it's up to the new owners, ex-Sydney Kings backer Dorry Kordahi and the controversial Philadelphia 76ers general manager Bryan Colangelo, to lead the Hawks back from the brink.
Like the voluntary administration and Save The Hawks campaign before it, after 41 years, the last foundation NBL club stands at a crossroads again.
Read about the Mercury's Put It Back campaign here.
Thank you for your support. If you enjoyed this, feel free to forward it to a friend.