Playground legend, Hall of Famer Connie Hawkins dies at 75

Connie Hawkins, basketball’s dazzling New York playground legend who soared and swooped his way to the Hall of Fame, has died. He was 75.

His death was announced Saturday by the Phoenix Suns, the team with which he spent his most productive NBA seasons in a career delayed for years by a point-shaving scandal that led to the league blackballing him, even though he was never directly linked to any wrongdoing.

The Suns did not disclose the cause of Friday’s death. Hawkins, who lived in the Phoenix area, had been in frail health for several years and was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2007.

“The Hawk,'” as he came to be known for his soaring repertoire, was born on July 17, 1942, in Brooklyn, where he could dunk by age 11 and ruled the asphalt playgrounds, tales of his basketball feats spreading across the boroughs.

MAVERICKS: Guard Seth Curry is out indefinitely after being diagnosed with a stress reaction of his left tibia.

Seth Curry started 42 of his 70 games for Dallas last season, and shot 43 percent from 3-point range while averaging 12.8 points per game. The 27-year-old Curry is going into the second year of a two-year deal with the Mavericks.


EUROPEAN TOUR: Defending champion Tyrrell Hatton opened up a five-shot lead heading into the final round of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in St. Andrews, Scotland.

A bogey-free 7-under-par 65 put Hatton in a commanding position to defend the title the Englishman won by four shots last year at St. Andrews, the home of golf.

Gregory Bourdy of France was his closest challenger at 13 under after a 66.

Paul Dunne of Ireland was at 11 under, with former world No. 1 Luke Donald and Ross Fisher a further shot back.


NASCAR CUP SERIES: NASCAR has moved the start of Sunday’s race in Concord, North Carolina, up one hour to 1:10 p.m. because of a strong threat of rain.

The Charlotte Motor Speedway race had traditionally been a Saturday night event but was rained out last year because of Hurricane Matthew. It was held the next day, a gorgeous Sunday in North Carolina.

So Charlotte officials this year moved the race to Sunday, but rain again is threatening to disrupt the event. Saturday’s first practice session was washed out.


WORLD CUP QUALIFYING: Substitute Cristiano Ronaldo lifted Portugal to a labored 2-0 win at Andorra, and set up a showdown against Switzerland next week that will decide who advances to the World Cup.

Ronaldo was rested and watched the first half from the bench. Without its superstar, the European champion struggled against the 144th-ranked minnows. In desperation, Ronaldo was sent on and his 63rd-minute goal helped earn an eighth straight win in Europe Group B.


CHINA OPEN: Simona Halep will take over the top ranking after reaching the final, and Rafael Nadal will play Nick Kyrgios for the men’s title.

Halep beat French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-4, ensuring that when the WTA rankings are updated Monday she will be the first women’s No. 1 from Romania.

Top-seeded Nadal defeated third-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 in the semifinals, his tour-leading 60th match win.

Kyrgios didn’t drop his serve in ousting second-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany 6-3, 7-5 in the other semi.

JAPAN OPEN: David Goffin reached a second straight Japan Open final and will meet Adrian Mannarino, who beat top-seeded Marin Cilic in Tokyo.

Goffin won a tense baseline battle with Diego Schwartzman 7-6 (3), 7-6 (6), while Mannarino won 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-0 in his first career win against a top-five opponent.

– Staff and news service report