NBA Pioneer Connie Hawkins Dead At 75

NBA legend — and one of the sport’s first great leapers in an era far before today’s slam dunk artists — has died.

Connie Hawkins played seven years in the NBA and several more in the ABA, including four All-Star seasons with the Phoenix Suns.

He was 75 years old.

The exceptional athlete helped revolutionize the game in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and in his career he completely changed how players scored by sowing off long strides, incredible jumping ability, and those sweet dunks.

he Suns released a statement on Hawkins’ death (below):

“‘The Hawk’ revolutionized the game and remains to this day an icon of the sport and one of basketball’s great innovators. 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.”