National Basketball Association great Connie Hawkins dies at 75


NBA Hall-of-Famer Connie Hawkins has passed away, according to The Arizona Republic.

Known as "The Hawk", Hawkins was a legendary dunker whose college basketball gambling scandal delayed his appearance in the NBA after he was banned by the league.

"The Hawk" launched his career on the famed NY outdoor courts of Rucker Park and led two unbeaten high school teams to titles.

Connie Hawkins, basketball's dazzling NY playground great who soared and swooped his way to the Hall of Fame, has died.

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"Someone said if I didn't break them, I was slow to obey them", he once said.

"The Hawk' revolutionized the game and remains to this day an icon of the sport and one of basketball's great innovators", the statement read "His unique combination of size, grace and athleticism was well ahead of its time and his signature style of play is now a hallmark of the modern game". Whilst Hawkins was never arrested or charged, he was expelled from Iowa and was unable to land a scholarship at another college. 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.

Hawkins played for the Suns from 1969-1973, averaging 20.5 points, 9 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game for Phoenix. He was 75 years old. He won MVP honors as the team posted a league-best 54-24 record during the regular season and helped them win a title, beating the New Orleans Buccaneers in seven games in the inaugural championship series.

Leading off today: Several stories Saturday morning featured the quote that most eloquently reminded us of the greatest attribute in Connie Hawkins' game - his disregard for the laws of gravity. "He put us on the map".