R.I.P. John Havlicek (1940 – 2019)

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The Ohio native was one of the best players in Celtics history (Credit: Manny Rubio/USA Today Sports)

Some sad news to report: Celtics legend John Havlicek has passed away at the age of 79

Havlicek joined the Boston Celtics during the midst of their dynasty in 1962, selected 7th overall in that year’s NBA Draft (the last pick of the first round folks).

He was actually drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 1962 too, but after some practices there, he decided basketball was where his future was going to be.

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We see NFL players with basketball backgrounds succeed today (i.e. Antonio Gates); I wonder how Hondo would’ve stacked up in that category (Credit: Rob Sanders/Pinterest)

He played with the Celtics for 16 seasons, never missing more than 11 games in a season.

He won 6 NBA championships his first 7 seasons in the NBA, mostly in the role of 6th man, but after the retirement of Bill Russell, he and Dave Cowens became the pillars of two championship teams in the 1970s, winning in 1974 and 1976 respectively.

He was a great player on both sides of the ball. Havlicek was a 13-time NBA All-Star (1966-1978), 4-time All-NBA First Team (1971-1974), 7-time All-NBA Second Team (1964, 1966, 1968-1970, 1975-1976). In addition to this, Havlicek was a member of the All-NBA Defensive team for 8 straight seasons (3-time Second Team 1969-1971, and 5-time First Team 1972-1976)

During the 4 seasons (319 games) Havlicek was All-NBA First Team (1971-1974), here are the averages he put up:

25.7 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 6.9 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.4 BPG (.453 FG% on 22.4 shots per game)

To this day, John Havlicek is the all-time leading scorer for the Boston Celtics with 26,395 points (20.8 PPG). At the time of his retirement in 1978, he was the third leading scorer in NBA history, behind Oscar Robertson (26,710) and Wilt Chamberlain (31,419); he is 16th all-time in points today.

At the time of his retirement, Hondo had played the most games in NBA history (1,270); he is 30th all-time in games played today.

He played 172 postseason games during his career, which is currently 21st all-time, where he averaged 22 PPG.

You may remember Havlicek from one of the most iconic calls in NBA history:

This steal helped the Celtics secure a win in the 1965 Eastern Conference Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers. This was Havlicek’s third season in the NBA, and Boston went on to win their 8th NBA Championship (7th straight); this was Hondo’s third championship.

Hondo’s number 17 was retired soon after his retirement. His number was the 12th number to be retired in the history of the Boston Celtics (the team has currently retired 22 numbers).

He is one of the greatest Celtics of all-time, plain and simple. He may be forgotten due to joining the Celtics during the middle of their championship run in the 1960s, but he was a key piece in the latter half of those championships, and he then he continued to have a great career through the 1970s, a decade that gets forgotten in Celtics lore, even though they won 2 championships.

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Will anyone ever surpass Havlicek’s scoring output in Green? (Credit: Havlicek’s Website)

He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984, and named one of the 50th Greatest Players in NBA History in 1997.

To a legend of the game, may you rest in peace.

Stats derived from Basketball-Reference

Follow Nick on Twitter (@Nick_Collins14)

Author: Nick Collins

Boston sports fan sharing his love for sports and perspectives as a fan

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