Cornelius L. "Connie" Hawkins
A New York City playground legend, Connie Hawkins' flamboyant style, artistry, athleticism, and skill moved basketball to the next level. With acrobatic swoops, and monster dunks, Hawkins's spectacular game and style was emulated by the next generation of superstars like Julius Erving and Michael Jordan. From his Fu Manchu mustache and large hands to his seemingly effortless control of the basketball, both his on-the court and off-the-court presence oozed excitement and his above-the-rim game packed arenas all over the country. After one year at the University of Iowa, Hawkins was named Most Valuable Player of the short-lived American Basketball League with the Pittsburgh Rens. He was an All-ABL selection and played in one All Star Game. Hawkins' talents were so considerable that he found a home with the Harlem Globetrotters from 1964 to 1966. When he retired, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar listed Hawkins as one of the top 15 players he ever played with or against.