Havlicek in the 1960s
|Born||April 8, 1940|
Martins Ferry, Ohio
|Died||April 25, 2019 (aged 79)|
|Listed height||6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)|
|Listed weight||203 lb (92 kg)|
|High school||Bridgeport (Bridgeport, Ohio)|
|College||Ohio State (1959–1962)|
|NBA draft||1962 / Round: 1 / Pick: 7th overall|
|Selected by the Boston Celtics|
|Position||Small forward / Shooting guard|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Points||26,395 (20.8 ppg)|
|Rebounds||8,007 (6.3 rpg)|
|Assists||6,114 (4.8 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
|Basketball Hall of Fame as player|
|College Basketball Hall of Fame|
Inducted in 2006
John Joseph Havlicek (// HAV-li-chek; April 8, 1940 – April 25, 2019) was an American professional basketball player who competed for 16 seasons with the Boston Celtics, winning eight NBA championships, four of them coming in his first four seasons.
In the National Basketball Association he is one of four players to have won eight championships in their playing careers; only teammates Bill Russell and Sam Jones have won more, with 11 and 10 championships respectively. Havlicek is also one of three NBA players with an unsurpassed 8–0 record in NBA Finals series outcomes. Havlicek is widely considered to have been one of the greatest players in the history of the game and was inducted as a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984. He was a three-sport athlete at Bridgeport High School in Bridgeport, Ohio.
College and NBA career
Havlicek played college basketball at Ohio State University with future seven-time NBA All-Star Jerry Lucas, who was his roommate, future first-round NBA draft pick Larry Siegfried, future coaching legend Bobby Knight, and Mel Nowell, among many others. The 1960 Ohio State Buckeyes, coached by head coach Fred Taylor and assistant coaches Jack Graf and Frank Truitt, won the 1960 NCAA title. Havlicek was named as an alternate of the 1960 United States national team that competed in the 1960 Summer Olympics.
Havlicek was drafted by both the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League in 1962. After competing briefly as a wide receiver in the Browns' training camp that year, he focused his energies on playing for the Celtics, with head coach Red Auerbach later describing him as the "guts of the team." He was also known for his stamina, with competitors saying that it was a challenge just to keep up with him.
Nicknamed "Hondo" (inspired by the 1953 movie of the same name starring John Wayne), Havlicek revolutionized the "sixth man" role, and has been immortalized for his clutch steal in the closing seconds of the 1965 Eastern Conference championship. In the seventh and final game, played at Boston Garden on April 15, the Celtics led the Philadelphia 76ers 110–109 with five seconds left, and only needed to inbound the ball underneath their basket to secure the victory and advance to the 1965 NBA Finals; however, Bill Russell's pass struck a wire that hung down from the ceiling and helped support the baskets, the turnover giving the 76ers and Wilt Chamberlain the ball and a chance to win the game and the series. Hal Greer was set to throw the inbounds pass for the 76ers. Havlicek stood with his back to Greer, guarding Chet Walker. But as Greer's pass came inbounds, Havlicek spun, leaped, and tipped the pass to Sam Jones. Veteran referee Earl Strom, who wrote about this in his memoir Calling the Shots, called Havlicek's reaction one of the greatest plays he ever saw in his 32 years as a professional official. Announcer Johnny Most's call of "Havlicek stole the ball!" was dubbed by the NBA as "the most famous radio call in basketball history."
Havlicek is the Celtics' all-time leader in points and games played, scoring 26,395 points (20.8 points per game, 16th all-time in points scored in the NBA), and playing in 1,270 games (30th all-time). He became the first player to score 1,000 points in 16 consecutive seasons, with his best season coming during the 1970–71 season when he averaged 28.9 points per game.
In the second overtime of game five of the 1976 NBA Finals, Havlicek made a leaning, running bank shot that appeared to be the game-winner, as fans spilled onto the floor, but Havlicek's shot went in with one second left and Phoenix was allowed one final shot (after Jo Jo White converted the technical foul shot for Phoenix's illegal timeout), which Gar Heard scored to force the game's third overtime. The Celtics went on to win the game in triple overtime.
When he retired after the 1977–78 NBA season Havilicek finished his career as the Celtics all-time leading scorer, a distinction he still holds. He was the progenitor of the swingman position in basketball, a hybrid guard/forward position that took advantage of Havilicek's diverse skill set. Besides his prolific scoring, he was also well-regarded for his defensive skills, having been named to five NBA all-defensive teams, especially for his ability to harass ball carriers and steal the ball. He finished with 8 NBA championships, which was less than only two of his teammates when he retired, and was also named to thirteen all-star teams in his sixteen-year career.
A thirteen-time NBA All-Star, Havlicek retired in 1978 and his number 17 jersey was immediately retired by the Celtics. At the time of his retirement, Havlicek was the NBA career leader in games played (surpassed in 1984 by Elvin Hayes and now held by Robert Parish) and third in points behind Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson. Havlicek also retired as the career leader in field goal attempts (later surpassed by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and missed field goals (later surpassed by Kobe Bryant). Havlicek is now 30th, 16th, 6th and 2nd, respectively, in those stats.
In 1984 Havlicek became a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In 1997, he was selected as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, by a panel of journalists, players, coaches, executives, and general managers. He was also named the 14th best player of all-time in Bill Simmons's Book of Basketball.
The Bridgeport High School Gymnasium was renamed the "John J. Havlicek Gymnasium" in January 2007. He shares the honor with National High School Hall of Fame member Frank Baxter, a longtime coach at Bridgeport High School. The court is named after Baxter.
Pony International still produces a model of athletic shoes named after the iconic basketballer called the "John Havlicek" bearing John's signature.
Havlicek was shrewd with his money during his playing career, and he invested much of his money in the Wendy's fast food chain during its formative years. The success of his investments left Havlicek with a comfortable income after retirement and he never had to work for a conventional salary again. He had no desire to coach; instead, he served as a corporate speaker.
He met his wife Beth while both were attending Ohio State University. The couple were married in 1967. They had two children, a son Chris and daughter Jill. Chris attended the University of Virginia on a basketball scholarship in the early 1990s. Jill married former Major League Baseball outfielder and coach Brian Buchanan.
Havlicek had Parkinson's disease during his last years. He died on April 25, 2019, in Jupiter, Florida, seventeen days after his 79th birthday. The No. 17 was forever synonymous with Havlicek.
NBA career statistics
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
|†||Denotes seasons in which Havlicek won an NBA championship|
|*||Led the league|
- List of National Basketball Association career games played leaders
- List of National Basketball Association franchise career scoring leaders
- List of National Basketball Association career scoring leaders
- List of National Basketball Association career assists leaders
- List of National Basketball Association career free throw scoring leaders
- List of National Basketball Association career minutes played leaders
- List of National Basketball Association career playoff scoring leaders
- List of National Basketball Association career playoff assists leaders
- List of National Basketball Association career playoff free throw scoring leaders
- List of National Basketball Association single-game playoff scoring leaders
- List of NBA players who have spent their entire career with one franchise
- List of National Basketball Association annual minutes leaders
- List of NBA players with most championships
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- AJ Foss (June 3, 2011). "35 Years Ago: The Celtics and the Suns Play The Greatest NBA Finals Game Ever Played". Boston Sports Then & Now. Archived from the original on January 13, 2016. Retrieved May 29, 2014.
- "Boston Celtics Great And Hall Of Famer John Havlicek Dies At 79". NPR.org. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
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- Simmons, Bill (2010). The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to The Sports Guy. New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 978-0-345-52010-4.
- "John J. Havlicek Gymasium". Bridgeport School District.
- "Legends profile: Chris Mullin". NBA.com. March 3, 2013. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
- "Vintage Pony Sneakers". Archived from the original on November 27, 2014.
- Petraglia, Mike (April 25, 2019). "Celtics Legend John Havlicek Dies at Age of 79". CLNS Media. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
- Johnson, Dave (February 26, 1994). "Dad's Legacy Shadows Havlicek". Daily Press. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
- Flanagan, Jeffrey (January 12, 2017). "Q&A: Get to know assistant hitting coach Buchanan". MLB.com.
- Lott, Thomas (April 25, 2019). "Celtics Hall of Famer John Havlicek dies at 79". Sporting News.
- Jason Owens (April 25, 2019). "NBA Legend John Havlicek Dies at 79". Yahoo Sports.
- Mark Murphy (April 25, 2019). "John Havlicek, Celtics great, dies at 79". Boston Herald.
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