During the 2000s there was a major boom in popularity for the flashy style of basketball that took place on playground courts across America known as ‘streetball.’ Though not very fundamentally sound, it was extremely entertaining and fans rejoiced when Rafer ‘Skip To My Lou’ Alston had a solid NBA career.
Well before that time however, Connie Hawkins revolutionized the game and was one of the first true New York streetball legends to make his mark in the ABA and NBA. Hawkins most notably starred for the Phoenix Suns, but he also spent a couple of seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Unfortunately, Hawkins passed away Saturday morning at the age of 75 years old. The Lakers sent out their condolences to his friends and family:
Our condolences to the family and friends of Connie Hawkins. pic.twitter.com/0adBc9ncRr
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) October 7, 2017
Hawkins spent two seasons in the ABA, and another seven in the NBA. In total he made five All-Star Teams, and was named ABA regular season and playoff MVP in 1968 when he led the Pittsburgh Pipers to the ABA Championship. He was also All-ABA First Team twice, and All-NBA First Team once.
Early on in the 1973 season the Suns dealt Hawkins to the Lakers where he spent the next two seasons. Hawkins averaged 11 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.4 steals while with the Lakers, but he was no longer the player he was earlier in his career.
Nonetheless, Hawkins leaves a great legacy behind as he was truly one of the best players of that era. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992 and was a revolutionary player to anyone who saw him in his prime.
The staff at Lakers Nation expresses its sincere condolences for the Hawkins family.