NBA Pioneer Connie Hawkins Dead At 75

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An 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.

Related: Ralphie May Passes Away After Bout With Pneumonia

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, sweet dunks.

The 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.”

So sad — but such a legacy to leave.

Around Twitter, many in the league and around it mourned his passing (below):

So sad.

RIP, Mr. Hawkins.

Our condolences go out to his friends, family, former teammates, and loved ones.

Oct 7, 2017 1:39pm PDT

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