SPRINGFIELD, MASS. – Cornelius “Connie” Hawkins, enshrined as a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992, has passed away at the age of 75.
“Connie Hawkins was a gentle giant, a New York City playground legend and a true artist of the game,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “In his fifteen year professional career in the ABL, ABA and NBA, he played with a flair and excitement that inspired the next generation of superstars. His passion for the game and the Phoenix community continued until the very end and he will be sorely missed by the basketball community.”
From his distinctive mustache and large hands, to his seemingly effortless control of the basketball, Connie Hawkins’ presence oozed excitement that packed arenas across 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. When the league folded, he joined the Harlem Globetrotters for three years before playing with the Pittsburgh Pipers in the ABA’s 1967-68 inaugural season. That year, his team won the ABA Championship while Hawkins earned MVP, Playoff MVP and All-Star honors. He was named to the ABA All-Time Team in 1997. From 1969 to 1976, Hawkins played for three NBA franchises (Suns, Lakers, Hawks) earning All-NBA First Team (1970) and four NBA All-Star selections (1970-73). Hawkins’ number 42 was retired by the Phoenix Suns and he remained involved with the team’s community relations efforts for many years after his retirement.
About the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame: Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where basketball was invented, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame promotes and preserves the game of basketball at every level – professional, collegiate and high school, for both men and women on the global stage.
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