Basketball Hall of Famer John Havlicek passed away on Thursday at the age of 79.
John Havlicek stole the hearts of Celtics fans across New England. After an All-America career at Ohio State, Havlicek was drafted by Red Auerbach in 1962 and right into a dynasty already featuring Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Tommy Heinsohn and K.C. Jones.
The Celtics were in the middle of winning 8 straight NBA Championships in the 1960’s and 10 in 11 years.
It was Hondo who starred in that famous play, called by Johnny Most, in Game 7 in the 1965 Eastern Conference finals, when he saved the day and the dynasty, “Havlicek stole the ball, it’s all over! Johnny Havlicek stole the ball and he’s being mobbed by the fans!!”
Hondo wasn’t flashy. In fact, he described himself as a man of routine and discipline.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says it was that, “humble approach that produced extraordinary results.”
In 16 seasons, Havlicek was a 13 time All Star. He still holds the Celtics franchise record for points scored in a career with over 26,000 and in games played.
His number 17 hangs from the rafters at the Garden and he was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984.
John Doleva, President and CEO Basketball Hall of Fame, told 22News, “Obviously a big part of that dynasty. he was always in the right place at the right time which the epitome of that was ‘Havlicek stole the ball.’ But he was always in the right place at the right time, contributing to every championship the Celtics earned when he was with them.”
John Havlicek was a winner. A trusted teammate who was as nice a man off the court as he was relentless on it.