On May 31, some of the greatest basketball players in Western PA history…for that matter, in the nation, will be enshrined in the nationally and internationally recognized Connie Hawkins NCAA/Pro-Am Summer Basketball League.
To truly appreciate the talent level of these players, you only need to be reminded that from 1975-1985 the league was recognized as one of the Top 10 leagues in the nation and in 1978-79-80 was listed as one of the top five in the country.
In 1978, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote: “The Pittsburgh-based Connie Hawkins Summer Basketball League showcases some of the nation’s greatest legendary players as well as schoolyard legends, including former Atlanta Hawk Connie Hawkins himself.”
In 1979, “Heat in the Street” (Basketball bio of the nation’s top summer leagues written by former college and NBA coach Al McGuire) wrote: “If you’re going to play in the Connie Hawkins League in Pittsburgh, it’s best you have two pair of basketball shoes. The league is just too hot for one!!!”
In 1980, Sports Illustrated wrote: “With the increased rise of summer basketball leagues around the country showcasing both NBA, NCAA and asphalt talent, here’s how we rank the top five leagues across the U.S.; 1. Rucker League—Harlem, New York; 2. The L.A. Pro League—Las Angeles, California (sponsored by the Lakers); 3. The Sonny Hill League – Philadelphia.; 4. The D.C. Coalition League—Washington, D.C.; 5. The Connie Hawkins League—Pittsburgh.
Here are the 2017 Hall of Fame inductees…