Connie Hawkins, Aaron Hernandez and sports deaths in 2017

Connie Hawkins, Aaron Hernandez and sports deaths in 2017
Photo source: Croaker Queen via Youtube screenshot

As the year comes to a close, so do the lists reflecting on what occurred in the year. One of the more unfortunate parts of the end-of-the-year reflections is the deaths. The world of sports lost some legendary figures this past year, of all ages. Here are a few of the notable ones.

  • Connie Hawkins

Connie Hawkins is one of the greatest players ever in the history of basketball. He didn’t just get rebounds, he grabbed them with one palm. He used his length to make whatever decision he wanted to make on the offensive end of the floor, regardless of who was defending him. One season in the ABA, the Hall of Famer averaged 28.2 points and 12.6 rebounds a game for the Pittsburgh Pipers. Hawkins was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992 and he died on Oct. 6. He was 75.

  • Dan Rooney

The longtime Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney was a big endorser for having more diversity in the head coaching position in the NFL. A rule passed in 2002 requiring one minority to interview with a team during a coaching search was nicknamed the “Rooney Rule.” Although the main reason he was hired wasn’t because of the rule, the Steelers hired Black coach Mike Tomlin to replace the retired Bill Cower. Tomlin went on to win a championship himself in 2009. Rooney died on April 13. He was 84.

  • Jerry Krause

Jerry Krause was the general manager for the Chicago Bulls during the ’90s. He hired Phil Jackson, he traded up on draft night to get Scottie Pippen, he signed Dennis Rodman and also drafted Toni Kukoc. He died on March 21. He was 77.

  • Terry Glenn

The former New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboy wide receiver Terry Glenn played in the NFL for 12 seasons after having an All-American resume at Ohio State. Glenn died in a one-car accident on Nov. 20. He was 43.

  • Roy Halladay

Roy Halladay was one of the greatest pitchers of his generation. He won the CY Young Award in both the American League and the National League in 2003 and 2010, respectively. Halladay died in a plane crash on Nov. 7. He was 40.

  • Tommy Nobis

Tommy Nobis was the first player ever drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in 1966. Nobis was selected to five pro bowls in his career. He died on Dec. 13. He was 74.

  • Aaron Hernandez

The ending of Aaron Hernandez’s life was probably the most tragic in 2017. Hernandez was a stand out athlete all of his life, despite always dealing with trouble away from the field. He was drafted by the Patriots on Day Two of the NFL Draft in 2010 because of those off the field troubles that he had at the University of Florida. Hernandez was selected in the same draft as superstar Rob Gronkowski (New England), as the two shared time on the field with one another. In three seasons from 2010-2012, Hernandez had 1956 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns.

On June 26, 2013, Hernandez was taken into police custody over the alleged murder of Odin Lloyd. He was found guilty of the murder of Lloyd and was sentenced to life in prison. While in prison, he also faced charges of a double murder that occurred outside of a Boston club in 2012. Hernandez was acquitted of committing the double murder on April 14. Five days later, he committed suicide. After examining his brain, it was discovered that Hernandez had a very severe case of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), which is a brain disease caused by multiple concussions. He was 27.

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