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John Havlicek, one of the greatest Celtics ever, dies at 79

 John Havlicek, Boston Celtics star,  has died at 79 

John Havlicek’s legacy was built over 16 years with the Boston Celtics, eight of them as NBA champions, making him among the best to ever play the game. One play immortalized him forever. “Havlicek stole the ball! “Havlicek stole the ball!” Celtics radio announcer Johnny Most screamed, a moment that remains among the famous plays in NBA history. The Celtics said Havlicek died Thursday in Jupiter, Florida. He was 79. The cause of death wasn’t immediately available. The Boston Globe said he had Parkinson’s disease. Voted one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history, Havlicek’s steal of Hal Greer’s inbounds pass helped the Celtics hold off Philadelphia in the 1965 Eastern Conference final. “John Havlicek is one of the most accomplished players in Boston Celtics history, and the face of many of the franchise’s signature moments,” the Celtics said in a statement. “He was a champion in every sense, and as we join his family, friends, and fans in mourning his loss, we are thankful for all the joy and inspiration he brought to us.” Nicknamed “Hondo” for his resemblance to John Wayne, Havlicek was drafted ninth in the first round in 1962 out of Ohio State by a Celtics team stocked with stars Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, K.C. Jones, Sam Jones, Tom Sanders, Tom Heinsohn and Frank Ramsey. Boston won championships in six of his first seven years. “It is getting difficult each time I hear about another contemporary that passes!” Russell tweeted. “What is harder is when we lose guys like John Havlicek, he was not just a teammate & a great guy, but he was family. That is how our Celtics teams were.” As Russell and others gradually moved on, Havlicek became the elder statesman and moved up to become a starter. The team won championships in 1973-74 and 1975-76 with Havlicek leading squads that included Dave Cowens and Jo Jo White. “John Havlicek was a wonderful friend who represented the best of the NBA,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “He described himself as a man of routine and discipline – a humble approach that produced extraordinary results.” Havlicek was the MVP of the 1974 Finals, and set Celtics career records for points and games. He was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History and enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984. At Ohio State, he helped lead the Buckeyes to the 1960 national championship. As much as his deadly jump shot or his play in Boston’s triple-overtime NBA Finals victory over Phoenix in 1976, Havlicek was known for his durability. In his NBA career he scored 26,395 points in 1,270 games and played in 13 All-Star Games. “The Boston Celtics are not a team, they are a way of life,” Hall of Fame coach and executive Red Auerbach once said. And no one personified the Celtic way more than Havlicek. His No.17 was raised to the rafters in old Boston Garden and now resides in TD Garden, retired soon after he retired in 1978. He averaged 20.8 points, 6.3 rebounds.

John Havlicek, one of the greatest Celtics ever, dies at 79. Mr. Havlicek suffered from Parkinson’s disease by 

3/7/1971.. Celtics vs. New York, John Havlicek and Bill Bradley - John Havlicek - 1963-1974 - OPS SportsBookCeltics / bw

3/7/1971.. Celtics vs. New York, John Havlicek and Bill Bradley – John Havlicek – 1963-1974 – OPS
SportsBookCeltics / bw

3/7/1971.. Celtics vs. New York, John Havlicek and Bill Bradley – John Havlicek – 1963-1974 – OPS SportsBookCeltics / bw –Globe file

John Havlicek, the understated superstar who transformed an off-the-bench role into a Hall of Fame career and became the all-time leading scorer with the Boston Celtics, died on Thursday in Jupiter, Florida. He was 79.

Every one of Mr. Havlicek’s 16 seasons was spent in a Celtics uniform, 13 of them as an all-star. Throughout, he set league records for games played (1,270) and consecutive 1,000-point seasons (all 16), as he played across Celtic dynasties. He was known for his huge lungs and an epic work ethic, constantly hustling the floor quarter after quarter and honing his skills long beyond when other basketball players hit the point of retirement.

“Havlicek stole the ball,’’ is still one of the great rallying cries in sports history, shouted by announcer Johnny Most and quietly repeated by countless numbers of aspiring players in pickup games across the region for years after.

https://www.boston.com/sports/boston-celtics/2019/04/25/john-havlicek-one-of-the-greatest-celtics-ever-dies-at-79

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