Boston, MA– It is a sad day in the world, especially in the world of Boston sports. John Havlicek, a great man and one of the best basketball players to ever play the game, passed away yesterday at the age of 79 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. For many years, along with players like Sam Jones, Bill Russell, and Bob Cousy, Havlicek was the face of the Boston Celtics and, in addition to being one of the five best Celtics players ever, Havlicek was certainly among the best players in NBA history.
An absolute workhorse for the Celtics, Havlicek remains as the all-time leading scorer for the historic Boston basketball franchise, which includes such notable scorers as Larry Bird and Paul Pierce. Havlicek's 26,395 point record seems untouchable in an era when teams don't stay with their teams as long as they used to. Havlicek was drafted seventh overall in 1962 and played his entire career with the Celtics until his retirement in 1978.
During that time, Havlicek was a part of eight NBA championship teams, including his achievement as 1974 NBA Finals MVP. An NCAA champion with Ohio State in 1960, Havlicek boasted an illustrious career in the NBA with thirteen All-Star appearances, four times on the All-NBA First Team, seven on the Second Team, five on the All-Defensive First Team, three on the Second Team, and one appearance on the All-NBA Rookie Team. He was also named to the NBA's 35th and 50th anniversary teams and his number seventeen will stand forever as a retired number in the Boston Garden.
Regarding Havlicek's passing, Russell tweeted a statement that read as follows:
The official statement from the Celtics organization read in part, "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." In addition to mentioning his immense on-court talent and accomplishments, the Celtics were also sure to remark on his qualities of selflessness, loyalty, intelligence, and generosity, as well as his commitment to The Genesis Foundation for Children.
The Celtics and the NBA had never seen a player like Havlicek before. He was as dynamic as any player could be in the 1960s and the 1970s. A pure scorer, a pure talent, and a pure man, Havlicek will never be forgotten in the lore of Boston and in the lore of sports.
It is always sad to say goodbye Boston legends like Havlicek, but in reflecting on his career I feel grateful for everything he did for the city.
Here, for your viewing pleasure and in remembrance, is Havlicek's most iconic moment as a basketball player. Every sports montage will feature this play. It's Havlicek's iconic steal.
Thank you, John Havlicek.