Who was better, Connie Hawkins or George McGinnis?


This is a very interesting question. Both players played their primes in the ABA and then had a few good seasons in the NBA before declining. Both retired relatively early and their best days were finished, their athleticism robbed by age 30.

I would say they are fairly close. Both players are very underrated because the NBA does not acknowledge their ABA achievements.

Scoring: About the same. Both players in their primes averaged about 25 – 30 PPG. Hawkins was a prototype Dr J with his acrobatic dunks and layups while McGinnis often drove in much like early Lebron but also had a unique one handed jump shot from the midrange. Both were athletic freaks of nature in their primes.

Rebounding: Also pretty close. McGinnis has the higher career average of 11 RPG but Hawkins in his prime can also easily get 11–13 RPG as well. McGinnis peaks at even higher levels averaging 14–16 RPG in his prime. McGinnis was possibly even more athletic so it might go to him.

Passing: also dead even. Both were great passers from the post averaging 4–5 APG in their primes and McGinnis could even bring the ball up like a proto Lebron in his prime functioning as the main ball handler but that’s also why he got a lot of turnovers because he wasn’t quite a gifted a passer like Lebron. I would say both played a similar role to Giannis in that they were very good passers for their size and position but I would stop short of saying that they were as good as a typical guard when bringing the ball up the court.

Awards: tough call. Both won rings, an MVP and Finals MVP in the ABA. McGinnis has one more ring than Hawkins though. Hawkins best year in the NBA was his rookie year where he took the Wilt/West/Baylor Lakers to 7 games with his only supporting teammate being Gail Goodrich. He was All-NBA 1st team that season. McGinnis was also All-NBA 1st team his rookie season in the NBA and helped lead the 76ers to the Finals when Dr J arrived on the team.

So prime vs prime, it’s close, both players were MVP level and won championships, while giving you 25/11/4 a night. If I had to pick I think McGinnis would be more interesting to have as a second or third option on a team given that he was proven to win alongside MVP players like Mel Daniels on his team and Dr J. Hawkins I just don’t know because he didn’t have quite a good supporting cast in the NBA and he played at a weaker time in the ABA compared to McGinnis. The ABA was a fledgling league when Hawkins played there he was their first major superstar, whereas McGinnis arrived when the ABA had much more talent and was also able to win more championships there. So I might take George McGinnis by a tiny hair. I know this may be a bit surprising since Bill Simmons in his book of basketball had Connie Hawkins in his pyramid but not McGinnis, but I think he left out virtually all the ABA Pacers guys anyways (Mel Daniels, Roger Brown also got left out) and didn’t give McGinnis a fair shake at all.