John Havlicek Dies Of Parkinson’s Disease At 79

April 26, 2019

| CBS News – 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! Johnny 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 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.

The autographs of John Havlicek, coach Red Auerbach, and announcer Johnny Most were collected at Boston Garden in 1968 by the editor of Headline Health.

“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. Read more. 

Here’s a list of Havlicek’s numerous honors and accomplishments:

  • 8-time NBA champion (1963–1966, 1968, 1969, 1974, 1976)
  • NBA Finals MVP (1974)
  • 13-time NBA All-Star (1966–1978)
  • 26,395 points (franchise record)
  • 4-time All-NBA First Team (1971–1974)
  • 7-time All-NBA Second Team (1964, 1966, 1968–1970, 1975, 1976)
  • 5-time NBA All-Defensive First Team (1972–1976)
  • 3-time NBA All-Defensive Second Team (1969–1971)
  • NBA All-Rookie First Team (1963)
  • No. 17 retired by Celtics (1984)
  • NCAA champion, Ohio State (1960) SOURCE: NBC Boston

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