John Havlicek
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John Havlicek

John Havlicek
John Havliceck, Boston Celtics, 1960s.jpg
Havlicek in the 1960s
Personal information
Born(1940-04-08)April 8, 1940
Martins Ferry, Ohio
DiedApril 25, 2019(2019-04-25) (aged 79)
Jupiter, Florida
NationalityAmerican
Listed height6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Listed weight203 lb (92 kg)
Career information
High schoolBridgeport (Bridgeport, Ohio)
CollegeOhio State (1959-1962)
NBA draft1962 / Round: 1 / Pick: 7th overall
Selected by the Boston Celtics
Playing career1962-1978
PositionSmall forward / Shooting guard
Number17
Career history
1962-1978Boston Celtics
Career highlights and awards
Career statistics
Points26,395 (20.8 ppg)
Rebounds8,007 (6.3 rpg)
Assists6,114 (4.8 apg)
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at NBA.com
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)[1] was an American professional basketball player who spent his entire career with the Boston Celtics, winning eight NBA championships, four of them coming in his first four seasons with the team.

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 won more, with 11 and 10 championships respectively.[2] Havlicek is also one of three NBA players with an unsurpassed 8-0 record in NBA Finals series outcomes.[3] 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.

Early life

Havlicek was born in Martins Ferry, Ohio, where his parents ran a general store.[4] He was of Czechoslovakian and Croatian heritage, from his father and mother respectively.[5] Havlicek was a three-sport athlete at Bridgeport High School in Bridgeport, Ohio.[6]

Collegiate 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.[7]

Professional career

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."[8] He was also known for his stamina, with competitors saying that it was a challenge just to keep up with him.[9] Havlicek was a swingman who could play the both the guard position and the forward position.[10][11][12]

Nicknamed "Hondo" (a nickname inspired by the 1953 movie of the same name starring John Wayne),[4] Havlicek revolutionized the "sixth man" role in the NBA during his early years coming off the bench for the Celtics.[13][14][15]

Havlicek 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 which was hanging down from the ceiling and helping to support the baskets, the turnover then giving the 76ers and Wilt Chamberlain the ball and a chance to win the game and the series.[4]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.[4] Veteran referee Earl Strom, who wrote this game action 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.[16] Announcer Johnny Most's call of "Havlicek stole the ball!" was dubbed by the NBA as "the most famous radio call in basketball history."[17]

In Game Five of the 1968 Eastern Division Finals, Havlicek recorded a near triple-double with 29 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists as the Celtics avoided elimination at the hands of the 76ers.[18] He almost replicated his performance in Game Seven, as he recorded 21 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in a 100-96 road win against the 76ers. In that series, the Celtics became the first NBA team to overcome a 3-1 playoff series deficit.[19]

The Celtics won the 1974 NBA Championship and Havlicek was named NBA Finals MVP.[20]

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. However, Havlicek's shot went in with one second left, and Phoenix was allowed one final shot after Jo Jo White converted a technical foul shot for Phoenix's illegal timeout. Gar Heard scored for Phoenix to force the game's third overtime. The Celtics went on to win the game in triple overtime.[21][22][23]

When he retired after the 1977-78 NBA season, Havlicek finished his career as the Celtics all-time leading scorer, a distinction he still held at the time of his death in 2019.[24] Besides his prolific scoring, he was also well-regarded for his defensive skills. Havlicek was named to five NBA all-defensive teams, and was known for his ability to harass ballhandlers and get steals. He finished his career with eight NBA championships and was named to 13 all-star teams during his 16-year career.[9][20]

Legacy

A 13-time NBA All-Star, Havlicek retired in 1978 and his number 17 jersey was immediately retired by the Celtics.[25] At the time of his retirement, Havlicek was the NBA career leader in games played (a mark surpassed in 1984 by Elvin Hayes[26] and third in points behind Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson. Havlicek also retired as the NBA career leader in field goal attempts (later surpassed by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and missed field goals (later surpassed by Kobe Bryant).[27]

In 1984, Havlicek became a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.[8] 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.[28] He was also named the 14th best player of all-time in Bill Simmons's Book of Basketball.[29]

Havlicek is the Celtics' all-time leader in points, 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).[30] He became the first player to score 1,000 points in 16 consecutive seasons, with his best scoring season coming during the 1970-71 season when he averaged 28.9 points per game.[27]

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.[31] Fellow Hall of Famer Chris Mullin wore number 17 as a tribute to Havlicek.[32] In 1974, Havlicek received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement.[33]

Longtime Celtics teammate Bill Russell once described Havlicek as "'the best all-around ballplayer [he] ever saw'".[34]

Post-NBA years

Havlicek was shrewd with his money during his playing career, and he invested much of this income 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.[1]

Havlicek was a member of the board of the Genesis Foundation, which assists children with disabilities and genetic disorders. "He and his wife, Beth, held the John Havlicek Celebrity Fishing Tournament for more than three decades with proceeds going to the foundation".[34]

Personal life

Havlicek met his wife, Beth, while both were attending The Ohio State University. The couple were married in 1967. They had two children: A son named Chris and a daughter named Jill.[4] Chris Havlicek attended the University of Virginia on a basketball scholarship in the early 1990s.[35] Jill Havlicek married former Major League Baseball outfielder and coach Brian Buchanan.[36]

Havlicek had Parkinson's disease during his last years.[37] He died on April 25, 2019, in Jupiter, Florida, seventeen days after his 79th birthday.[1][38][39]

NBA career statistics

Regular season

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1962-63+ Boston 80* -- 27.5 .445 -- .728 6.7 2.2     14.3
1963-64+ Boston 80 -- 32.3 .417 -- .746 5.4 3.0     19.9
1964-65+ Boston 75 -- 28.9 .401 -- .744 4.9 2.7     18.3
1965-66+ Boston 71 -- 30.6 .399 -- .785 6.0 3.0     18.8
1966-67 Boston 81* -- 32.1 .444 -- .828 6.6 3.4     21.4
1967-68+ Boston 82 -- 35.6 .429 -- .812 6.7 4.7     20.7
1968-69+ Boston 82 -- 38.7 .405 -- .780 7.0 5.4     21.6
1969-70 Boston 81 -- 41.6 .464 -- .844 7.8 6.8     24.2
1970-71 Boston 81 -- 45.4* .450 -- .818 9.0 7.5     28.9
1971-72 Boston 82 -- 45.1* .458 -- .834 8.2 7.5     27.5
1972-73 Boston 80 -- 42.1 .450 -- .858 7.1 6.6     23.8
1973-74+ Boston 76 -- 40.7 .456 -- .832 6.4 5.9 1.3 .4 22.6
1974-75 Boston 82 -- 38.2 .455 -- .870 5.9 5.3 1.3 .2 19.2
1975-76+ Boston 76 -- 34.2 .450 -- .844 4.1 3.7 1.3 .4 17.0
1976-77 Boston 79 -- 36.9 .452 -- .816 4.8 5.1 1.1 .2 17.7
1977-78 Boston 82 -- 34.1 .449 -- .855 4.0 4.0 1.1 .3 16.1
Career [27] 1,270 -- 36.6 .439 -- .815 6.3 4.8 1.2 .3 20.8
All-Star[27] 13 10 23.3 .481 -- .756 3.5 2.6 .3 .0 13.8

Playoffs

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1963+ Boston 11 -- 23.1 .448 -- .667 4.8 1.5     11.8
1964+ Boston 10 -- 28.9 .384 -- .795 4.3 3.2     15.7
1965+ Boston 12 -- 33.8 .352 -- .836 7.3 2.4     18.5
1966+ Boston 17 -- 42.3 .409 -- .841 9.1 4.1     23.6
1967 Boston 9 -- 36.7 .448 -- .803 8.1 3.1     27.4
1968+ Boston 19 -- 45.4 .452 -- .828 8.6 7.5     25.9
1969+ Boston 18 -- 47.2 .445 -- .855 9.9 5.6     25.4
1972 Boston 11 -- 47.0 .460 -- .859 8.4 6.4     27.4
1973 Boston 12 -- 39.9 .477 -- .824 5.2 5.4     23.8
1974+ Boston 18 -- 45.1 .484 -- .881 6.4 6.0 1.3 .3 27.1
1975 Boston 11 -- 42.2 .432 -- .868 5.2 4.6 1.5 .1 21.1
1976+ Boston 15 -- 33.7 .444 -- .809 3.7 3.4 .8 .3 13.2
1977 Boston 9 -- 41.7 .371 -- .820 5.4 6.9 .9 .4 18.3
Career[27] 172 -- 39.9 .436 -- .836 6.9 4.8 1.1 .3 22.0

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Powers, John (April 25, 2019), "John Havlicek, one of the greatest Celtics ever, dies at 79", Boston Globe
  2. ^ "NBA Finals: Players With Five or More Titles". NBA. Archived from the original on April 27, 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  3. ^ Berkman, Seth (June 19, 2016), "N.B.A. Finals Legend or Loser? Luck Is Often the Difference", The New York Times
  4. ^ a b c d e Araton, Harvey (April 25, 2019). "John Havlicek, a Dynamo in Two Eras of Celtics Glory, Dies at 79". New York Times. Retrieved 2019.
  5. ^ Petraglia, Mike (April 25, 2019). "Celtics Legend John Havlicek Dies at Age of 79". CLNS Media. Retrieved 2019.
  6. ^ Jeff Twiss. "Where Are They Now? - John Havlicek". NBA.
  7. ^ "Basketball at the 1960 Roma Summer Games". sports-reference.com. Archived from the original on October 25, 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  8. ^ a b "John Havlicek". www.hoophall.com. Retrieved 2019.
  9. ^ a b Johnson, Alex. "John Havlicek, Celtics legend who 'stole the ball!' dies at 79". NBC.com. Retrieved 2019.
  10. ^ "The Retired Numbers Project: Number 17 - John Havlicek". January 29, 2018.
  11. ^ "What Is A Swingman In Basketball? Definition & Meaning On SportsLingo". www.sportslingo.com.
  12. ^ Orsborn, Tom (April 28, 2019). "Popovich mourns death of his 'idol' John Havlicek". mySA.
  13. ^ "The greatest sixth man from each NBA team". November 8, 2018.
  14. ^ Reynolds, Bill. "Bill Reynolds: Havlicek defined role of 'sixth man'". providencejournal.com.
  15. ^ "The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame :: John Havlicek". www.hoophall.com.
  16. ^ Earl Strom; et al. (Blaine Johnson) (1990). Calling the Shots: My Five Decades in the NBA. New York: Simon and Schuster.
  17. ^ "Havlicek Stole the Ball!". NBA.com. Retrieved 2019.
  18. ^ "Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers Box Score, April 15, 1968". Basketball-Reference. Retrieved 2020.
  19. ^ "Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers Box Score, April 19, 1968". Basketball-Reference. Retrieved 2020.
  20. ^ a b "Legends profile: John Havlicek". NBA.com. Retrieved 2019.
  21. ^ "Greatest Game Ever". NBA.com. Retrieved 2019.
  22. ^ "Greatest Game Ever Played". NBA.com. Retrieved 2012.
  23. ^ 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 2014.
  24. ^ "Celtics legend John Havlicek, a mainstay of '60s and '70s champions, dies at 79". RSN.
  25. ^ "Boston Celtics Great And Hall Of Famer John Havlicek Dies At 79". NPR.org. Retrieved 2019.
  26. ^ Goldaper, Sam (February 12, 1984). "Hayes Enjoying Farewell Season". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 17, 2018.
  27. ^ a b c d e "John Havlicek". Basketball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 2019.
  28. ^ "NBA History: The NBA's 50 Greatest Players". www.nba.com. Archived from the original on June 4, 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  29. ^ Simmons, Bill (2010). The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to The Sports Guy. New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 978-0-345-52010-4.
  30. ^ Rollins, Khadrice (April 25, 2019). "Celtics Legend, Eight-Time NBA Champion John Havlicek Dies at 79". SI.com. Retrieved 2019.
  31. ^ "John J. Havlicek Gymasium". Bridgeport School District.
  32. ^ "Legends profile: Chris Mullin". NBA.com. March 3, 2013. Retrieved 2014.
  33. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". www.achievement.org. American Academy of Achievement.
  34. ^ a b Zillgitt, Jeff. "John Havlicek, Hall of Famer and Celtics legend, dies at 79". USA TODAY.
  35. ^ Johnson, Dave (February 26, 1994). "Dad's Legacy Shadows Havlicek". Daily Press. Retrieved 2012.
  36. ^ Flanagan, Jeffrey (January 12, 2017). "Q&A: Get to know assistant hitting coach Buchanan". MLB.com.
  37. ^ Lott, Thomas (April 25, 2019). "Celtics Hall of Famer John Havlicek dies at 79". Sporting News.
  38. ^ Jason Owens (April 25, 2019). "NBA Legend John Havlicek Dies at 79". Yahoo Sports.
  39. ^ Mark Murphy (April 25, 2019). "John Havlicek, Celtics great, dies at 79". Boston Herald.

External links


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