PHOENIX — Connie Hawkins, basketball’s dazzling schoolyard legend who soared and swooped his method to the Corridor of Fame, has died at seventy five.
His demise was introduced Saturday by the Phoenix Suns, the staff with which he spent his most efficient NBA seasons. The Suns advised The Related Press they confirmed the dying together with his household however didn’t disclose particulars.
Hawkins was born in Brooklyn, New York, the place he dominated the asphalt playgrounds and tales of his basketball feats unfold throughout the boroughs.
He was an honest shooter, however he was at his masterful greatest ought to anybody try and cowl him one-on-one. He would blow by defenders and end on the rim with breathtaking wizardry or a thunderous slam. Earlier than there was Julius Erving, Hawkins produced his personal model of basketball theater, though he performed earlier than decidedly smaller homes.
“‘The Hawk’ revolutionized the sport and stays to today an icon of the game and one in every of basketball’s nice innovators,” the Suns stated of their assertion. “His distinctive mixture of measurement, grace and athleticism was properly forward of its time and his signature fashion of play is now an indicator of the fashionable recreation.”
Hawkins performed two seasons within the ABA and was the league’s Most Invaluable Participant in 1968, serving to the Pittsburgh Pipers to a title.
He didn’t play within the NBA till he was 27, the league holding its distance due to a university level-shaving scandal in New York Metropolis whereas Hawkins was a freshman at Iowa in 1961. Hawkins was in a roundabout way implicated however his identify turned hooked up to others concerned.
He signed with the Suns in 1969 and was an NBA All-Star for 4 straight seasons. His greatest season within the NBA was his first, when he averaged 24.6 factors, 10.four rebounds and four.eight assists. He additionally performed for the Los Angeles Lakers and Atlanta Hawks earlier than retiring in 1976.