ABA, NBA legend Connie Hawkins dead at 75


connie-hawkinsFormer playground, ABA and NBA star Connie Hawkins has passed away at age 75.

The Hall of Famer’s death was announced Oct. 7 by the hoenix Suns, the team with which he spent his most productive NBA seasons in a career delayed for years by a point-shaving scandal that led to the league blackballing him, even though he was never directly linked to any wrongdoing.

Hawkins, who lived in the Phoenix area, had been in frail health for several years and was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2007, said the NBA report.

He was a decent shooter, but he was at his masterful best should anyone dare to try to cover him one-on-one. Hawkins would blow by defenders and, gripping the ball in one hand, finish with breathtaking wizardry or a thunderous slam, seemingly defying laws of gravity.

Hawkins toured the world with the Harlem Globetrotters then played two seasons in the ABA and was the league’s Most Valuable Player in 1968, helping the Pittsburgh Pipers to a title.

Hawkins was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992.

He didn’t play in the NBA until he was 27, the league keeping its distance because of a college point-shaving scandal in New York City while Hawkins was a freshman at Iowa in 1961.

Hawkins was never directly associated with the scandal and the principals always contended he had nothing to do with it, but the NBA barred him nonetheless.

Hawkins played 117 games in ABA, averaging 28.2 ppg and 12.6 rpg in 42.7 mpg.

In the NBA he played 499 games, averaging 16.5 ppg and 8 rpg in 34.5 mpg. Hawkins spent most of his NBA career with the Phoenix Suns, and also with LA Lakers and Atlanta Hawks.

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