Some sad news coming out of Boston today. The Celtics organization made the announcement that one of the greatest players in franchise history has died.
John Havlicek, Hall-of-Famer, eight-time NBS champion has passed away at the age of 79. Family confirms that the basketball standout had been suffering from Parkinson’s Disease for some time.
Havlicek was a collegiate standout, playing for Ohio State. He was selected by the Celtics in the 1962 NBA draft and went on to play all 16 years off his professional career with the Boston dynasty.
ESPN reports, “Havlicek played all of his 16 NBA seasons with the Celtics, winning eight championships, including one in each of the first four seasons of his career. Only two players -- Celtics teammates Bill Russell (11) and Sam Jones (10) -- have won more championships in NBA history.”
“Havlicek was one of only ten players in NBA history to make at least eight All-NBA teams and eight All-Defensive teams.”
Beloved by players and fans alike, Havlicek gave his all but received very little fanfare.
"Everybody says nice things about you when you die. I wish they said them to John when he was alive.
“John was always overlooked. They never talked enough about him," lamented former teammate Dave Cowens.
"I used to ask people, 'Why don't you talk about John Havlicek?' It was always Magic [Johnson] and Jerry West and Dr. J, but John belonged in those conversations."
“Bob Cousy and Tom Heinsohn confirm that John Havlicek has passed after a long bout with Parkinson's Disease. Heinsohn: "A great athlete. The sad part is what he endured the last couple of years."
Tributes poured in from fans and NBA greats, alike.
“I’m sad to hear about the passing of one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history, John Havlicek. 13x All Star, 8x Champion, Finals MVP, and Hall Famer, John was a champion on the court and in the community.”
“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. #RIP Hondo”
“RIP to one of the game’s greatest players, former Ohio State and Boston Celtics great John Havlicek. Hondo could run all day, and was among the classiest people in basketball. John Havlicek was unforgettable.“
“John Havlicek has passed at age 79. This is an immense personal loss, as well as professional. If all professional athletes carried themselves as well as he did, sport would be a far better place.”
The Boston Celtics organization posted an emotional tribute after hearing the sad news.
“It is with great sadness we have learned that Celtics Legend and Hall of Famer John Havlicek has passed away peacefully today at the age of 79. He will be dearly missed by his Celtics family. “
Tribute statement from the Boston Celtics in its entirety: “John Havlicek is one of the most accomplished players in Boston Celtics history, and the face of many of the franchise’s signature moments.
“He was a great champion both on the court and in the community, winning 8 NBA championships and an NBA Finals MVP, while holding Celtics career records for points scored and games played.
“Named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, he is enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame and his retired #17 hangs in the Garden rafters.
“His defining traits as a player were his relentless hustle and wholehearted commitment to team over self.
“He was extraordinarily thoughtful and generous, both on a personal level and for those in need, as illustrated by his commitment to raising money for The Genesis Foundation for Children for over three decades through his fishing tournament.
“John was kind and considerate, humble and gracious. He was a champion in every sense, and as we join his family, friends, and fans in mourning his loss, we are thankful for all the joy and inspiration he brought to us.”
Rest in peace, John ‘Hondo’ Havlicek. We’ll never forget you.