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Suns Ring of Honor member Connie Hawkins passes away at 75

Connie Hawkins of the Phoenix Suns is pictured in action against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Feb. 16, 1971. (AP Photo/Robert Kradin)

Phoenix Suns Ring of Honor member and Basketball Hall of Famer Connie Hawkins passed away Friday at the age of 75, the team confirmed Saturday morning.

“The Hawk” was a legend of the playgrounds in New York, the American Basketball League, the Harlem Globetrotters and the American Basketball Association before moving into the NBA with the Suns in 1969 at the age of 27. He averaged 24.6 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game in his first season.

Hawkins played for the Suns from 1969-1973 and was an All-Star in his first four seasons in the league. In that first season, Hawkins was named to the All-NBA First Team alongside some of the game’s greats like Willis Reed, Walt Frazier and Jerry West.

He is known as the franchise’s first superstar player.

The Suns released the following statement.

‘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.

A flip of the coin changed the Suns’ fortunes and he helped put Phoenix on the map as the city’s first professional sports superstar. Rightfully, he became the first Suns player inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame and his No. 42 hangs in the rafters at Talking Stick Resort Arena as part of our Ring of Honor.

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 Hall of Famer had his No. 42 retired on Nov. 19, 1976, by the franchise.

“Connie gave us instant big-league status,” said former general manager Jerry Colangelo of Hawkins to in 2016.

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