The Illawarra name will return for the upcoming NBL season, if the Hawks reach a new membership target.
Following a corporate and community backlash over the decision to dump the name and simply call the club 'The Hawks', the new owners and the NBL announced on Friday morning, Illawarra would be reinstated.
However, it will only happen if a membership drive can secure a specific target of 4379 members for the 2021 season, a delayed start due to ongoing Covid concerns.
The figure has been reached as a symbolic gesture, given the only remaining foundation club has been in the NBL for 43 seasons, starting in '79 (1979).
In a statement obtained by the Mercury, the NBL will also need to see "significant support from the local business community" to ensure the Illawarra name's return.
In the fallout of the decision to dump the name, a number of key sponsors, including burger restaurant His Boy Elroy took to social media withdrawing their support.
The Hawks also lost the backing of major sponsor Multi Civil and Rail, after former general manager Tory Lavalle's bid to own the club with NBA draft prospect Lamelo Ball's family was cast aside, in preference for the group led by Dorry Kordahi and ex-Philadelphia executive Bryan Colangelo.
And the Mercury led a 'Put It Back' campaign in the push to have the Illawarra name's return.
But in announcing the membership drive, called 'Illawarra proud', Hawks president Kordahi admitted the name was a vital part of building a sustainable club.
"The Illawarra is in the Hawks' DNA," Kordahi said in a statement. "It's a fundamental part of the club's identity and history and must be part of its future. The Illawarra is a proud region built on hard work and people pulling together to support each other.
"And it's time to show that pride and get behind our campaign to put the Illawarra back into the Hawks.
"We need to demonstrate to the NBL that this is a long term, sustainable club and business that deserves to have Illawarra in its name. But we need the support of the Illawarra community to achieve this."
The new ownership took over the club following a period of voluntary administration at the end of Simon Stratford's time in control.
The 2001 title-winners have endured years of financial turmoil, including during the 'Save The Hawks' campaign, where the club was rescued in 2009.
A deadline on the new membership target has not been established, but the NBL are preparing to start the new season in mid-January.
New coach Brian Goorjian, a six-time NBL title-winner, said he wanted to have the Illawarra name as part of the campaign.
"The Illawarra is part of the history of this club, the only foundation club to have competed in every season of the NBL since its inception in 1979," he said.
"The Hawks identity is ingrained in the Illawarra.
"It was clear to me when I first played in the NBL back in 1984 and has been reinforced to me since I joined the Hawks as coach this year.
"I returned to the NBL because I believe this club has an exciting future and the fans deserve success.
"I know how much the people of the Illawarra care about this club and what it stands for."