PHOENIX Connie Hawkins, basketball's dazzling schoolyard legend who soared and swooped his way to the Hall of Fame, has died at 75.
He finally got his shot at the NBA in 1969 and became an All-NBA First Team selection as a 27-year-old rookie with the Phoenix Suns.
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He earned a scholarship to play at the University of Iowa but was expelled by the school following a point-shaving scandal despite never admitting any involvement or being charged with a crime. "People still to this day ask me if I was bitter about that, and I still tell them". He moved on to join the National Basketball Association in 1969 and went on to play for the Suns, Lakers and Hawks during his career. He averaged 20.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per game during his five seasons in the Valley. He played for the Harlem Globetrotters and the ABA to start his pro career.
Jerry Colangelo, the Suns original general manager who went on to own the franchise, has said that if Mr. Hawkins would have come into the league through college at the normal age, "he could have been one of the top 10 or 15 players to ever play the game". Basketball great Connie Hawkins has died at 75.
The former 6-8 forward was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992, a testament to his accomplishments and skill despite not being seen on the professional stage for much of his prime. "He put us on the map".