Hawks CEO Stu Taggart has apologised for the "internal miscommunication" that saw the club's away jerseys released with 'Illawarra' omitted from the new-look strip.
The Hawks unveiled its fresh away strip online on Thursday, with eagle-eyed fans on social media quick to note the absence of the region's name on the uniform.
It remains a hot-button issue several seasons after the NBL made stripping 'Illawarra' from the team emblem a condition of granting the license to a new ownership group following the wind-up of the previous club entity.
The baffling move prompted uproar among fans, with the league agreeing to return the name on the condition a membership target was met, an approach described by Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery as "corporate blackmail."
Then coach Brian Goorjian also led the campaign to restore the name, which was done before the season was out.
The club released a statement on Thursday night acknowledging the error, with Taggart using Friday morning's season and brand launch to assure fans the oversight has been corrected.
"It was just ultimately an error internally," Taggart said.
"It was early early days (as CEO) for me whenever the decision was made, so from our point of view it's about rectifying it. That's why we tried to get on top of it as soon as we could.
"We're putting our hand up, we made an error, we're rectifying it and we apologise that that created, for a short period of time, some confusion and uncertainty.
"We'll go through our internal processes to avoid that happening again. I'm aware it's a sensitive issue, even though I'm relatively new to the area, around the history of not only this ownership but in the past. I am really sensitive to that.
"We're a lean team and we're moving really fast and sometimes things get missed. This is an example of that and something we're rectifying to ease that inevitable concern, which I understand.
"It'll be on the singlet for our first away game and there's no intention of taking it off. That's the key message."
Taggart pointed to strengthening ties with the Illawarra Basketball Association, plans for an elite multi-court "home of basketball" at Beaton Park, plans for a WNBL franchise and geographical broadening of community programs to illustrate the club's commitment to its region.
"On this particular issue, it's about actions not words," Taggart said.
"We're working closely with the IBA. Since walking into the organisation, that's something that I've tried really hard to work on with Oscar (Forman), similarly with Geoff (Adams) at the Roller Hawks.
"We're working with Basketball Australia to understand the upcoming WNBL capitalisation and expansion process to determine how we can have a presence in the WNBL as soon as possible.
"You can see clearly through the work we're doing, how important it is to represent the Illawarra community and what we're trying to do is is help define that a little bit better.
"It's difficult at times to define that geography - how far south, how far north, how far west does it stretch? What we're doing is further extending engagement at a community level with activities and player appearances and camps as well."
"We're excited, and what we're really excited about is we've got a great start to the season," Taggart said.
"We've got five of our first eight games at home, combination of Thursday, Friday, Saturdays, there's every reason for people to engage and come out and support.
"We've got a job to do around the experience we create in the arena. The guys are working really hard to be ready to get on court on September 30. We're excited and we hope the community's excited with us."
Our news app has had a makeover, making it faster and giving you access to even more great content.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.