Hall of Famer Hawkins dies at 75

Oct 7, 2017 - 6:03 PM Hall of Famer and Phoenix Suns great Connie Hawkins, who played seven seasons in the NBA, died at the age of 75.

Hawkins, nicknamed "The Hawk" and a Brooklyn playground legend, played four All-Star seasons with the Suns from 1969 to 1973. The forward also played for the Los Angeles Lakers and Atlanta Hawks.

The Suns, who retired Hawkins' No. 42 jersey, announced Saturday that he passed away on Friday.

" 'The Hawk' revolutionized the game and remains to this day an icon of the sport and one of basketball's great innovators," the Suns said in a statement. "His unique combination of size, grace and athleticism was well ahead of its time and his signature style of play is now a hallmark of the modern game.

"A flip of the coin changed the Suns' fortunes and he helped put Phoenix on the map as the city's first professional sports superstar. Rightfully, he became the first Suns player inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame and his No. 42 hangs in the rafters at Talking Stick Resort Arena as part of our Ring of Honor.

"Connie's passion for the game was only matched by his desire to give back to the Phoenix community, a role which he played proudly as a Suns community ambassador, spreading warmth and kindness to everyone he encountered. We will miss Hawk dearly. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends as we mourn the passing of a true Suns legend."

The 6-foot-8 Hawkins averaged 16.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.2 steals during his NBA career. He made the All-NBA first-team in 1969-70 when he averaged 21.7 points, 9.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists for the Suns.

Before joining the NBA at age 27, Hawkins played two seasons in the ABA, winning the league title and MVP honors with the Pittsburgh Pipers in 1967-68. He also played four seasons with the Harlem Globetrotters in the 1960s.

Hawkins became the first Suns player to be enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992.

Suns great Steve Nash tweeted: "Gonna miss the Hawk! Legend! RIP."

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