There has been no shortage of incredible and iconic Boston Celtics stars over the years, but one name who will always stand out is John Havlicek. The iconic All-Star spent his entire career with the Celtics, and it was a stretch which will always be known as one of the best ever. In sad news on Thursday, Havlicek died at the age of 79, as The Boston Globe revealed.
According to the report, Havlicek suffered from Parkinson’s, but there has been no official cause of death stated to this point. The Celtics legend is known for a number of on-court feats, including winning eight championships, which ranks as the No. 3 most in NBA history.
Even going beyond his winning ways and impressive on-court play, many know Havlicek by his incredible nickname, which ranks as one of the best in NBA history. He was known as ‘Hondo,’ which came from the 1953 John Wayne movie of the same name.
John Havlicek, aka ‘Hondo,’ & Stole the Ball Call
Havlicek was a part of one of the most memorable calls in NBA playoff history which came from Celtics play-by-play announcer Johnny Most. The play came during the 1965 Eastern Conference Finals against Wilt Chamberlain and the Philadelphia 76ers.
When the ball was inbounded, he knocked Hal Greer’s pass free and grabbed the steal, leading to Most yelling “Havlicek steals it! Over to Sam Jones! Havlicek stole the ball! It’s Over!” This came in the final seconds of Game 7, clinching Boston’s spot in the NBA Finals, as the NBA showed.
The Celtics icon was named to 13 NBA All-Star games during his 16 seasons. Over that stretch, he earned All-NBA First Team honors four times and All-NBA Second Team honors seven times. Havlicek’s defensive excellence led to eight total NBA All-Defensive selections (five First Team and three Second Team).
Following his retirement in 1978, Havlicek’s No. 17 jersey was retired by the franchise almost immediately.
Havlicek’s Celtics Career & Hall of Fame Induction
After a career which many Celtics fans will never forget, Havlicek was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984. He played 1,270 games with the franchise and posted five seasons with 40.7 minutes per game or more, which is unheard of in this day and age in the NBA.
Havlicek’s career wrapped up with averages of 20.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Aside from a rookie season in which he scored 14.3 points per game, there wasn’t another single year in which Havlicek averaged fewer than 17.0 points per game. His All-Star appearances came from 1965-66 on, meaning he received the nod in 13-straight seasons from his fourth through the final year of his career in 1977-78.