The National Basketball Association is better than the American Basketball Association, but it is no longer a great deal better.
One thing Connie Hawkins will do for Phoenix is solidify the franchise overnight. No team can exist for long in the NBA today without a superstar, and Connie Hawkins fills the gap at Phoenix.
Lamar Green remembered: “In came this little kid, and he had his fingers all taped up and his wrist taped. I wasn’t going to say anything, but the other kids started laughing at him, saying who did he think he was, the Hawk or somebody?”
When superstar Connie Hawkins jumped from the American Basketball Association to the National Basketball Association, it was hailed as a major triumph for The Establishment (NBA) over the Young Rebels (ABA). Actually, it was a strategic move motivated by expediency and economy.
Because Tony Jackson thought a phone call was a joke, because Connie Hawkins and Roger Brown let someone buy them a few good times, because Doug Moe unwisely was too loyal, they lost three to six years.
Most of the shell Brown had been hiding in for so long has been shed, and he has hatched into a beautiful bird of basketball, confident and immensely skilled.
Connie Hawkins seems like the last man in the world to lead a revolution. For one thing, he’s too tall. For another, very few successful revolutionaries get up at 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon. And finally, he is rich.
Connie Hawkins, it’s turning out, is a lot of things to a lot of people. To Phoenix fans—Sensational: “He could bank a shot off a piece of Kleenex.”
Dave DeBusschere was a defensive stopper who could take the air out of opponents with his physical brand of ball.