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Foul! The Connie Hawkins Story Hardcover – March, 1972
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This book is about a professional basketball player, Connie Hawkins, but it is also about American athletics. The hope and despair of the ghetto schoolyard, the cutthroat college recruiting, the camaraderie and dissension in the locker room, the gambling scandals, the blacklists, the legal battles - Hawkins has been through them all. For eight years, the graceful, 6'8" Hawkins was an outcast, playing in tainted obscurity, blacklisted by the NBA. As a frightened teenager, he had made false confessions - under police pressure - and was wrongfully implicated in a fixing scandal. David Wolf's magazine acticle dramatically cleared Hawkins in 1969. Foul! in Connie Hawkin's story, a meticulously documented, remarkably candid biography of one of our greatest athletes. A compelling portrait of a unique and perceptive black man, it is also a behind-the-scenes look at basketball.
Top customer reviews
The Phoenix Suns had lost Big Lew in the draft the previous spring and seemed to get restitution with Connie...and how, he took the league by storm and along with Paul Silas, Dick Van Arsdale, and Gail Goodrich, came within one game of knocking off Los Angeles, (Wilt, Jerry, Elgin, etc.) in the first round of the playoffs. The Suns were up 3-1 and I still believe there were some unseen forces that refused to allow this man to be what he was...one of the best ever. Goodness he was so smooth. As the golf ball commercial says, 'as smooth as a pocketful of pudding'.
I found it interesting that when the NBA had it's fifty year anniversary and named its 50 best that Connie wasn't one of them. NBC had a special and when Bob Costas was interviewing Dave DeBusschere, Dave commented that he thought Connie was one who had been overlooked...it got very quiet on the set and Bob changed the subject, it was a very awkward moment, but I wasn't surprized.
I agree that all young people that aspire to athletics at the collegiate or professional level; male or female, white or black, rich or poor, urban or rural, need to read this book, because it says more about the system, than it does about Connie, he was just the sacrificial lamb...
Connie Hawkins - to those not familiar - was a basketball player of almost unparalleled skill and flamboyance, who grew up under impoverished conditions in his Bed-Sty neighborhood. He was recruited to play for the University of Iowa, but somehow got implicated in a sports gambling scandal that he, was, essentially, ignorant of. He was banned from playing in the NBA (remember, that the times were much different then), so excelled in the ABL and ABA...and even had a mostly unhappy stint with the Harlem Globetrotters...before winning the right (legally) to play in the league. Although his knees, and body, were older than his chronological "27 years", the Hawk was one of the league's brightest stars his first four years in the NBA. (Picture a slightly bigger and stronger Julius Erving.)
"Foul" is an enjoyable, colorful and quite candid read, and the "Hawk" (with quite able assistance from author David Wolf) comes off as a truly good guy, who is also a terrific storyteller. I highly recommend it.