Nicknamed The Hawk, Connie Hawkins was praised by his contemporaries as among the most talented forwards ever to play basketball. He was widely renowned as among the initial players capable of swooping, soaring flights to the hoop, and acrobatic and throw-down dunks.
The 6’8” forward was a Parade magazine High School All-American in 1960 and had signed up a scholarship to play for the University of Iowa. But struck by controversy involving him, although not directly, with a gambling and point-shaving scandal. As a result he was tainted and banned from the NBA and dropped by Iowa as well.
The then 19 year old played one season for the Pittsburgh Rens of the American Basketball League and received the league’s Most Valuable Player title. He also toured with the Globetrotters for 2 years, while played 70 games for the Pittsburgh Pipers in the inaugural 1967-68 season of the ABA. In the 2 ABA seasons he played, Hawkins averaged 28.2 ppg and 12.6 rpg, with playoff scoring average of 28.2 ppg.
In 1969, NBA Commissioner J. Walter Kennedy lifted the ban against Hawkins, post which Hawkins joined the Phoenix Suns at the age of 27. In his1969-70 season with the Suns, he played 81 games and averaged 24.6 ppg, nearly adding 5 assists per game as well. However, he failed to impress any further even when he was traded to the Lakers in 1973-74.
Then due to Injuries in the 1974-75 season and another slack year, Hawkins finally hung up his shoes after the 1975-76 season with the Atlanta Hawks.