Sad news from Boston came out last night, as it was reported that, Celtics legend, John Havlicek has passed away at the age of 79.
Hondo was a legend in Boston, breaking multiple franchise records and setting the bar for generations that would come after him. The Celtics selected Havlicek, out of Ohio State, 7th overall in 1962 NBA Draft. In his 1st season with the Celtics, Hondo would go on to record 14.3ppg, 6.7rpg, and 2.2apg on 44.5% shooting from the field, putting him in line to make the All-Rookie 1st Team. Later that same year Hondo would receive more honors, as his Boston Celtics would win the championship, giving him his 1st ring. John Havlicek, after his 1st season, would be apart of 7 more championship teams, one of the more important ones coming in 1974. In 1974 the Celtics had made their way to the Finals once again, after defeating the Buffalo Braves and New York Knicks in the Eastern Conference Playoff bracket. In the Finals, Boston would face the Milwaukee Bucks, then in the Western Conference, where the Celtics would defeat them in 7 games. Havlicek had a huge impact on the series, averaging 26.4ppg, 7.7rpg, and 4.7apg on 42.9% shooting, winning his 1, and only, Finals MVP award. There were many more honors John Havlicek would be presented with over the 16 years, all with the Celtics, he’d spend in the NBA. Hondo would be awarded an All-NBA spot 11 times, and All-Defensive honor 8 times, and be selected to the NBA All-Star team 13 times. Not only are his credentials crazy, but his numbers are too. Over his 16 year career, Mr.Havlicek would set the Celtics franchise record in scoring (26,395 points), minutes played (46,471 minutes), games played (1,270 games), and field goals made (10,513 FGM), all without the 3-point line. His numbers made him a legend on court, but what kind of person he was made him a legend off the court.
Many of Havlicek’s teammates, friends, and acquaintances would speak very highly on him off the court and have spoken since his death. Danny Ainge, now GM and former player of the Celtics, said to MassLive, “When I think of John I don’t really think of a highlight. I just think of this player that just never stopped playing. He just played so hard and just the goodness of the person. His whole life is a highlight.” That’s how most will remember Mr.Havlicek. As a nice, hard-working, great man. Dave Cowens, Celtic legend and one of the young guys Hondo mentored in the ’70s, would go on to say to the Boston Globe today, “He was one of these guys that exhibited quiet greatness. He was very stoic, professional to the nth degree and competitive and everything you want to say about a man as a professional and a person. He was top shelf.” And of course, Mr.Bill Russell, one of the greats, would tweet out, “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.” We can see John Havlicek was not just a great basketball player, but a great man and just overall person. The NBA and the whole Celtics family will be missing John Havlicek, after the news of his passing, his greatness, however, both on and off the court will never be forgotten.
By: Seamus Zarlingo