Connie Hawkins, Phoenix Suns great, dies at age 75

A sad day for the NBA, as Phoenix Suns Hall-of-Famer Connie Hawkins passes away at the age of 75

Hall of Fame forward Connie Hawkins has died according to a press release made Saturday by the Phoenix Suns. Hawkins played four All-Star seasons for Phoenix from 1969-1973. The Suns have confirmed his death with the family.

Hawkins was an all-time great that many basketball fans never got to see. Spending some of his best years in the ABA, and living in a time where highlights reels were few and far between, Hawkins’ name often gets lost in history. His career was nothing short of fantastic, and a big part of basketball history. He will undoubtedly me sorely missed.

The Brooklyn, New York natve began his professional basketball career as a member of the Harlem Globetrotters and performed with them for three years. When the American Basketball Association began in 1967, Hawkins joined the Pittsburgh Pipers and dominated the league.

Hawkins won regular season MVP, postseason MVP and led his team to a championship that season. He moved on to join the NBA in 1969 and went on to play for the Suns, Lakers and Hawks during his career. He also played one season in the American Basketball League in 1961, previous to his NBA career.

While a member of the Atlanta Hawks in 1975, Hawkins famously appeared in a Saturday Night Live spoof, playing a game of one-one-one basketball against diminutive singer, Paul Simon.

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. 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.”

Injuries cut Hawkins’ career short as he only played seven seasons in the NBA. However, his performances across the ABL, ABA, and NBA cemented a place for him in the basketball Hall of Fame. In 1992, Hawkins became the first player for the Phoenix Suns to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

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