John Havlicek, a Basketball Hall of Fame guard who played 1,270 games and won eight championships with the Boston Celtics, has died at age 79.
He also was part of the 1960 Ohio State team that won the NCAA championship.
Havlicek remains the Celtics’ all-time leader in games played (1,270) and points (26,395).
The Celtics issued a statement that read, in part: “John Havlicek is one of the most accomplished players in Boston Celtics history, and the face of many of the franchise’s signature moments.
“He was a great champion both on the court and in the community. His defining traits as a player were his relentless hustle and wholehearted commitment to team over self.
“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.”
Hondo, you set the bar.#ForeverGreen ☘️ pic.twitter.com/aZ59fAoLlQ
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 26, 2019
The Celtics selected Havlicek in the first round of the 1962 draft (seventh overall), and he helped lead them to NBA championships in each of his first four seasons and six of his first seven.
The legendary Boston team of the 1960s also featured Bill Russell, KC Jones, Sam Jones, Tom Heinsohn and Satch Sanders.
It is getting difficult each time I hear about another contemporary that passes! 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. #RIP Hondo @NBA #RIPJohnHavlicek @NBAonTNT pic.twitter.com/VP9MGPjrmZ
— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) April 26, 2019
Havlicek’s play at the end of Game 7 of the 1965 Eastern Conference Finals produced one of basketball’s most famous radio calls. He tipped away an inbounds pass in the final seconds, sealing a win over the Philadelphia 76ers.
Gravel-voiced Celtics announcer Johnny Most bellowed: “Havlicek steals it. Over to Sam Jones. Havlicek stole the ball! It’s all over! Johnny Havlicek stole the ball!”
Havlicek bridged eras to the next two Celtics championships, in 1974 and 1976, with those teams also featuring Dave Cowens, Jo Jo White and Don Nelson.
John Havlicek pictured during his playing days with the Boston Celtics
Havlicek was selected the Most Valuable Player of the 1974 NBA Finals.
In 16 NBA seasons, all with the Celtics, Havlicek averaged 20.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists. He was a 13-time All-Star, an 11-time All-NBA performer and an eight-time All-Defensive Team honoree.
Havlicek was honoured as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history when the league released the list to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 1996.