Connie Hawkins (The Hawk) entered the league in 1969 at 27 years old and was drafted second overall after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The Hawk was already passed his prime when drafted after being banned from the league, but still went on to leave a Hall of Fame legacy. Hawkins most notably played for and was drafted by the Suns, who announced his passing this Saturday.
RIP to Connie Hawkins.— Pro Hoops History (@ProHoopsHistory) October 7, 2017
One of the smoothest, most influential, and most egregiously wronged players in basketball history. pic.twitter.com/gqlU0M7sxZ
Before there was ‘Doctor J’ there was ‘The Hawk,’ Connie Hawkins. pic.twitter.com/8GQnQwKRMJ— Ruben Luna (@RubeOnRoundball) October 7, 2017
The Hawk was initially banned from the NBA until then-commissioner J. Walter Kennedy lifted the ban, initially imposed following a college point-shaving scandal. Hawkins claimed his innocence in the New York City point-shaving scandal that occurred while Hawkins was a freshman at Iowa in 1961, and the principals always contended he had nothing to do with it, but the NBA barred him regardless.
There was no announced cause of death, but Hawkins was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2007. Nevertheless, fans will remember the high-flying Hawk who could blow by defenders, gripping the ball in one hand, and finish with either the finesse or the slam.
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