Connie Hawkins made brief career stop in Minnesota with ABA's Pipers


The Brooklyn-born Hawkins - who was inducted into the Hoops shrine in 1992 - was known for his acrobatic, throw-down dunks.

Hawkins made the All-Star team in each of his first four years in the National Basketball Association, all of those appearances coming with the Suns.

In '62, at age 19, won the American Basketball League's MVP with Pittsburgh Rens.

Hawkins, a playground legend who rates a first-team spot on any credible list of the greatest basketball talents ever to come out of New York City, died Friday at the age of 75. Hawkins, nicknamed "The Hawk", was an NBA Hall of Famer who had a troubled start to his career but rose to become a Suns legend.

"In an official press release, the Suns said "'The Hawk' revolutionized the game and remains to this day an icon of the sport and one of basketball's great innovators.

After his brief stint in the ABA, Hawkins landed with the Phoenix Suns in 1969-70, playing in 81 games and registering 24.6 points per game off of 49 percent shooting.

"His unique combination of size, grace and athleticism was well ahead of its time", a statement from his family read.

As reported by ESPN, Hawkins was kept at arm's length by the league because of a points shaving scandal in 1961 when Hawkins was a freshman at Iowa. Mr. Hawkins was never directly associated with the scandal, and the principal figures always contended he had nothing to do with it, but the National Basketball Association barred him nonetheless. He spent most of his career with the Suns from 1969 to 1973 and averaged 20.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists.

He was an NBA All-Star for four straight seasons. Despite that, he was denied a place at top United States college teams or in the National Basketball Association. As a member of the Suns' Ring of Honor club, Hawkins' number 42 is retired by the franchise.

He was, Colangelo said, "a very warm, compassionate guy who was very humble in his own way".



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