Oct 7 (The Sports Xchange) - Hall of Famer and Phoenix Suns star forward Connie Hawkins, who played seven seasons in the NBA, has 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. He also played for the Los Angeles Lakers and Atlanta Hawks.
The Suns, who retired Hawkins' number 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.
Basketball Hall of Famer Connie Hawkins
Basketball Hall of Famer Connie Hawkins
INGLEWOOD, CA - JANUARY 18: Connie Hawkins #42 of the West drives against the East during the 1972 NBA All-Star Game on January 18, 1972 at The Forum in Inglewood, California. The West defeated the East 112-110. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1972 NBAE (Photo by Wen Roberts/NBAE via Getty Images)
INGLEWOOD, CA - 1980: Julius Erving #6 of the Philadelphia 76ers drives the ball up court against Connie Hawkins #42 of the Los Angeles Lakers during a game played circa 1980 at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1980 NBAE (Photo by Wen Roberts/NBAE via Getty Images)
PHOENIX - NOVEMBER 2: Amare Stoudemire (L) #1 of the Phoenix Suns and Basketball Hall of Fame member Connie Hawkins of the Phoenix Suns host the Jr. Suns Jr. Mercury fundraiser event on November 2, 2006, at RA in Scottsdale, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2006 NBAE (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)
PHOENIX - 1970: Connie Hawkins #43 of the Phoenix Suns poses for a portrait in 1970 at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1970 NBAE (Photo by NBA Photos/NBAE via Getty Images)
BOSTON - 1973: Connie Hawkins #42 of the Phoenix Suns shoots a jump shot against the Boston Celtics during a game played in 1973 at the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1973 NBAE (Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - 1970: Connie Hawkins#42 of the Atlanta Hawks puts up a shot from under the basket against the New York Knicks during an NBA game at Madison Square Garden circa 1970 in New York, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1970 NBAE (Photo by NBA Photo Library/NBAE via Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE - 1969: Connie Hawkins of the Phoenix Suns sits on the bench during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1969 season at the MECCA Arena in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1969 NBAE (Photo by Vernon Biever/NBAE via Getty Images)
New York Knicks vs Phoenix Suns - Knicks' Cazzie Russell lets go with one-hander but Connie Hawkins of the Phoenix Suns goes up to grab it during action at the Garden last night. After eight years in NBA exile, Hawkins returned home to score 27 points but Knicks outshone the Suns, 140-116. (Photo By: Walter Kelleher/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
SPRINGFIELD, MA - SEPTEMBER 7: Basketball Hall of Fame electees (L-R) Lou Carnesecca, Billy Cunningham, Harry Gallatin and Connie Hawkins hold a discussion during the Basketball Hall of Fame reunion dinner at the Marriott September 7, 2006 in Springfield, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2006 NBAE (Photo by Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images)
ATLANTA - 1970: Connie Hawkins #4 of the Atlanta Hawks drives to the basket against the Philadelphia 76ers during a game at the Omni in 1970 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2002 NBAE (Photo by NBA Photo Library/NBAE/Getty Images)
BOSTON - 1968: Connie Hawkins #33 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots against the Boston Celtics during a game played circa 1968 at the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1968 NBAE (Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images)
Former basketball players Connie Hawkins (L) and Bill Russell arrive for a memorial service for basketball star Wilt Chamberlain at The City of Angels Church of Religious Science in Mar Vista near Los Angeles October 16. Chamberlain, 63, died of congestive heart failure at his Los Angeles home October 12.
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"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.
Before joining the NBA at age 27, Hawkins played two seasons in the American Basketball Association, 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.
He 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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