Connie Hawkins (born July 17, 1942) left us on October 6, 2017 at the age of 75. He is remembered for: being one of the greatest players of all time, the playing years he lost in his 20’s due to false accusations, his four years with the Harlem Globetrotters, and especially for the way his graceful, floating, offensive style helped revolutionize the way the game was played.
He showed great promise during his years at Boys’ High School in Brooklyn, but his reputation was tarnished by false accusations of participating in a point-shaving scheme which aimed to fix games by undercutting the projected margin of victory (the spread). The fiasco cost him his college career at Iowa after only a single year, and he was banned from the NBA for three years. Hawkins followed his passion, however, first touring with the Harlem Globetrotters and playing with the ABA’s Pittsburgh Pipers.
The NBA finally made a settlement with Hawkins, compensating him for damages and allowing him to join the expansion Phoenix Suns for the 1969 season. He played in the league from 1969 to 1976 season. Although his NBA career only lasted for seven seasons, he made the All-NBA team in 1970, and was named an All-Star 4 times. The Suns have since retired his No.42 jersey.
The following video contains footage of Hawkins’ days of playing, from high school as well as his NBA years. It also incorporates interviews with fellow NBA stars Nate Thurmond and Cazzie Russell and former CBS Sports president and Turner Broadcasting CEO Robert Wussler.