The Legacy of the Pittsburgh Pipers

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Connie Hawkins
Connie Hawkins /

Pittsburgh Lucks Into Connie Hawkins

Connie Hawkins was a street-ball legend at New York City’s famed Rucker Park He was on track to have a successful college career at Iowa, but Hawkins’ rise wouldn’t be so simple.

In his freshman year at Iowa, Hawkins was accused of point-shaving and accepting bribes from a New York City gambler. Despite never being indicted, the scandal was enough for Iowa to expel Hawkins. After NBA Commissioner J. Walter Kennedy said he did not approve of any team signing Hawkins, he quickly ran out of options.

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The young street-ball legend played one season with the Pittsburgh Rens of the American Basketball League before returning home to New York to play with the Harlem Globetrotters. Evidently, Pittsburgh made an impression on Hawkins, and he returned to sign his first professional contract with newly formed ABA. Hawkins would eventually get his chance in the NBA, but not before he cemented his legacy as one of the stars of the ABA era.

Next: Terrible Ownership Dooms Pipers