You can see it in the tread of his wing-tipped sneakers above your eyes as he soars above the rim. Connie Hawkins, you know the name better than the NBA thinks you do. And to even those who don’t, the real ‘Hawk’ outside of Atlanta takes flight away from it all.
The legendary playgrounds of New York. From Brooklyn to the Rucker where he made his legacy making name as iconic as those of Pee Wee Kirkland and Earl Manigault wrote in the Big Apple concrete of forever.
The beautiful borough of Harlem. Neighbour to his Bedstuy home that birthed basketball’s most famous club around the world, the Harlem Globetrotters. A team he saw the whole planet with, from the Far East to Down Under as he span the ball on the tip of his finger like the red, white and blue was on a string.
The ABA, where in exile he still merged his talents with the best of them. Even Julius Erving. As the Pittsburgh Pipers league MVP even rose above the lay-up line dunks of the good Dr. J. himself. No contest.
The NBA that suspended him for a point shaving scandal he couldn’t fight his innocence for in the courts. That kept him off the hardwood ones with a lock on the gym until he was 27 years old and on the cusp of the twilight of his high flying talent. Yet still he rised. All above it all. From being a predicted flameout, to rising from the cruel conflicted ashes with the Phoenix Suns. All the way to averages that were anything but and a place in the Arizona ballclubs firey ‘Ring of Honour’ right beside the likes of Charles Barkley, Dan Majerle and Steve Nash after turning the franchise who for him lost the rights to draft U.C.L.A.’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then the Milwaukee Bucks Lew Alcindor) on it’s head.
Hollywood and the hardwoods hallowed Hall of Fame. As after a Showtime stint in the movie capital with Magic and them, Hawkins headed to Naismith as he took flight towards retirement with one of the best careers on the court. But one that came with a ‘what could have been’ if he wasn’t kept from the then unjust league where he could have really showed the watching world what he was truly made of.
And finally the cruel colon cancer that took his life tragically all too soon and all too young this week at 75 years of age. Rest in Peace Hawk, you’re free now. And we’ll always remember you Connie.
How could you forget a playground, Harlem Globetrotter, ABA, NBA, Hall Of Fame and New York City legend? There’s no one out there in Converse quite like Con.
Don’t forget the real point is this. Without the scandal and resulting suspension which he served without reasonable guilt proved, Connie Hawkins may have just been one of the best NBA players of all-time. With it however, from the blacktop to the hardtop and the whole globe he trotted from Brooklyn to Harlem…and then Hollywood, Connie Hawkins is one of the best all round basketball players the world has ever seen. Last night in an over sharing social media world of the NBA media and the franchises in it with the new season not even begun (not that that would matter anyway) the on and off court icon Connie Hawkins damn well deserved a better tribute.
So let’s leave it to Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love’s heartfelt piece on Instagram of all places…
“Connie Hawkins was the reason I chose to wear “42” as a young kid in Portland, Oregon. My father would tell me stories of this living legend and put me on the phone with him from when I was in grade school. I studied his game and was mesmerized at the athleticism he displayed on the court. I remember him running at full speed, grabbing the ball out of the air with one hand and rising for a powerful finish. What he was able to do with the ball at his size paved the way for some of the all time greats. He was one of the first people I loved watching film of early on and someone that inspired me to play the game. Truly an iconic player. Rest In Peace to “The Hawk”.”
Or Phoenix Suns G.M. Jerry Colangelo, “we lost a legend”.
Is Howard’s End In Hollywood?
Kobe Bryant mouths this whilst shaking his head in dissing dismay from the baseline whilst staring down Dwight Howard on the other half of the court. Now a Houston Rocket the less than perfect pair have a problem…and it’s all getting flagrant.
Once upon a time in Hollywood with Mike D’Antoni running the show with an ageing Steve Nash, Hollywood’s Laker reality show was playing fantasy, legendary name Basketball again like the time they brought in late in their career legends like Karl Malone and Gary Payton to help raise banners like the point of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or logo of Jerry West. But when they picked up Magic man Dwight Howard who even took Orlando’s Mickey Mouse kingdom on his broad back all the way to the Finals against the Lakers, they expected D12 and KB24 to be the new generation Shaq and Kobe. After all Dwight Howard was a man of steel too.
And oh how they were Shaq and Kobe 2…but in completely all the wrong way. It turned out to be Batman vs Superman without the dawn of a justice league, or even their mothers having the same name. Kobe’s beef with Dwight made his repaired relationship with Shaq look like Japanese cows without the massage and feeding rituals that make their Mamba city namesakes cuts the best in the business…now served in Shaquille’s restaurant with more onion rings. And when they met the following season after the death of another dynasty to be, this time Dwight was the little red corvette and Kobe the brick wall unable to be felled or floored like the one in Berlin. Baptizing him like that time in Orlando with his most dynamic dunk.
Since going from the Orlando Magic to Magic smiles in Hollywood Howard has switched more teams than your 2K partner when you’ve already picked to play as the Lakers. He’s also received his fair share of off court and locker room problems including some chemistry cancer concerns. And even in this off-season, either looking to make some headlines or free agent publicity stunts he’s come out and said he’d be open to returning to the Lakers (…erm) and that Kobe was right (he already knows).
Now most in Lakerland laughed at the social media scoffed idea. Especially with a front-court force more formidable than anything the association has to offer, lead by new big man legend Anthony Davis. Following in the sneaker steps of Mikan, Wilt, Kareem, Shaq and Pau to truly be the new Shaq and Kobe with King LeBron James. But when his old New Orleans Pelicans reunited Wildcat brother DeMarcus Cousins went down with another season threatening injury last week the Lakers were forced to look elsewhere already, like filling out their final roster spot with Andre Igudola was a ring of last week’s past, or Carmelo was one long rumored Anthony never meant to be. Bursting the banana boat like a CP3 nix.
And although the Lakers have been linked with the arc of Joakim Noah or the Zaza land of Pachulia and with plenty of other big assets still on the market like Marcin Gortat or Amir Johnson, will we see Dwight Howard eating tacos and yelling with LeBron on Twitter this Tuesday as we all unfollow like too many tweets (my bad)? Bringing Howard back to Hollywood seems sillier than bringing the LaVar Ball show back to this Kardashian town. Because besides they already have the all dunking and blocking JaVale McGee who is worthy of a start with James (42) clapping like throwing up chalk. All as this hair blown out center throws it down again and again, coast to coast in California. But apparently there’s a mutual interest…what is this Tinder? Will this just be the makings of another Michael Beasley or make ’em dance Lance Stephenson meme team? Still the Lakers need more in reserve and Dwight needs this for his revenge to the past years that have taken his career from the red caped sun to being newspaper fodder to each cities equivalent of the Daily Planet. Time to rewrite all those who wrote you off Jimmy Olsen.
Read all about it, at the end of press next week Dwight Howard could be a Los Angeles Laker yet again.
News just in…I can’t believe I’m writing this.
Who would of thought it?
Certainly not Kobe.
But it’s the King’s town now.
And after all in this LeBron ‘Space Jam’ scripted season for the Los Angeles Lakers you know Hollywood loves a redemption story too.
Boogie’s Productions Down Again
Cousins injured again…we can’t relate to that.
When former Sacramento star and New Orleans Pelican DeMarcus Cousins joined the Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green Golden State Warriors to begin last season critics dubbed this superteam unfair.
What was unfair however was the ACL injury that kept Boogie sidelined for most of the season and then the quad injury on top of that in the playoffs that made sure the Warriors wouldn’t be dancing in their final chapter in Golden State.
But as D.C. made a Cali move too like the Dubs across the Golden Gate to San Francisco, heading to LeBron’s Lakerland with former frontcourt friend Anthony Davis, what was really unfair is what’s just come out of a practice run this week.
Cousins has tore his ACL again in a horrible twist of fate.
This games God’s people.
When DeMarcus reunited with the same former New Orleans big man that rocked his jersey in beautiful All Star tribute a couple of seasons back when they briefly flew together as Pelicans this Summer, the Lakers furthered their favourite status like tapping that heart on Twitter. Even if the Clippers ended up being the ones that got Kawhi Leonard…and Paul George too for the new battle of Los Angeles, raging against the Lakers Hollywood machine, the Lake Show have the ‘Space Jam 2’ of the King and the ‘brow. Not to mention the difference maker like rising star Kyle Kuzma in the veteran one of Cousins.
Either one of them will blow, or both, as the other will show he’s still got it. Giving the West’s best the biggest force of an interchangeable frontcourt. As the Lakers could either go with the more muscle version of a Tim Duncan and David Robinson twin towers in the Pelican reunited Kentucky Wildcats of Davis and Cousins and ‘Bron. Or the most dynamic duo since Shaq and Kobe of James and A.D. and the one young core star who didn’t get switched for this franchise player in Kuz, who could form a big three if the injured Cousins isn’t already still a part of one. Despite the writing off medical report.
And we haven’t even got to his Kentucky alumni Rajon Rondo led backcourt, or last year’s all dunking and blocking big headband and hair spark JaVale McGee. A gym rat who re-upped after almost going for both the Defensive Player Of The Year and Most Improved Player award in the first month of last seasons 82 campaign.
The Lakers are going to need him and that first wind of last year now more than ever.
Or the California club have some decisions to make for who to put in purple and gold for their almost meant to be final roster spot (DON’T AMNESTY!). Do they still wait for another former Warrior in Sixth Man, defensive legend Andre Igudola? Or do they leave him and the long rumoured other Anthony in Carmelo and pick up another big? Guys like Nené, Amir Johnson, Joakim Noah, Kenneth Faried, Zaza Pachulia and Marcin Gortat are still on the market like fresh fruit stalls. And even Dwight Howard of all people have expressed (more like blatantly begged for publicity) for a return to Lakerland after his Hollywood divorce.
Because we have no idea when Boogie will be back. Or if he will even be the same player when he returns. Or if he even was before this injury happened. But despite history rewriting so many careers crippled by injury we still believe. We still believe he has superstar status and could be the X-factor difference maker when he returns late in the game to this Hollywood scripted rivalry like he almost was last season in the Finals against Toronto as he flips it. You saw him almost become a Splash Brother with that three, so just you wait until you see him downtown in STAPLES this season when it’s all said and buzzer beater done.
The bridge is far from over.
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