Atlanta Hawks: 15 best NBA Draft picks of all-time

Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Zelmo Beaty, St. Louis Hawks
(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /

. C. Prairie View A&M Panthers, 1962 (No. 3). Zelmo Beaty. 6. player. 125

This great Hawk played his ball for the club back when it was headquartered in St. Louis. The Hawks made a fantastic selection in taking center Zelmo Beaty No. 3 overall in the 1962 NBA Draft out of all places Prairie View A&M University. Yes, you can find future Basketball Hall of Famers there, as Beaty is proof of that.

Beaty played his first seven professional basketball seasons with the Hawks. The first six came while the team was in St. Louis. He played in the first season the Hawks got to Atlanta in 1968-69 before eventually making his way to the ABA with the Utah Stars. Beaty was an All-Rookie first teamer in 1963. He made both of his NBA All-Star Game appearances in Hawks uniform in 1965-66 and 1967-68.

After being barred from joining the ABA for a year, Beaty was sensational for the Stars. He led them to an ABA Championship in 1971. Beaty was a three-time ABA All-Star and a two-time All-ABA second teamer. He would play one more season in the NBA with the 1974-75 Los Angeles Lakers before retiring.

Beaty would briefly coach the ABA’s Virginia Squires after his retirement as a player. In Hawks uniform, Beaty would average 17.4 points and 11.2 rebounds per game. Beaty was posthumously elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016 only a few years after his death in 2013. His hall of fame classmates include Allen Iverson, Tom Izzo, Yao Ming, Shaquille O’Neal, Jerry Reinsdorf and Sheryl Swoopes.