|Born||April 8, 1940|
Martins Ferry, Ohio
|Died||April 25, 2019 (aged 79) |
|Listed height:||6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)|
|Listed weight:||203 lbs (92 kg)|
|High school|| Bridgeport|
|College||Ohio State (1959–1962)|
|NBA Draft||1962 / Round: 1 / Pick: 7th|
|Selected by the Boston Celtics|
|Playing career||1962–1978 (16 years)|
|Position||Small Forward / Shooting Guard|
|Career highlights and awards|
John Joseph Havlicek (April 8, 1940 - April 25, 2019) was an American professional basketball player who played his entire 16-year National Basketball Association (NBA) career with the Boston Celtics, winning eight NBA championships, four of them coming in his first four seasons with the team. Nicknamed "Hondo" (inspired by the 1953 movie of the same name starring John Wayne), Havlicek revolutionized the "sixth man" role.
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 have won more, with 11 and 10 championships respectively. Havlicek is also one of three NBA players with an unsurpassed 8–0 record in NBA Finals series outcomes. 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. He was a three-sport athlete at Bridgeport High School in Bridgeport, Ohio.
He 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, 1965, 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. 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. 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. Announcer Johnny Most's call of "Havlicek stole the ball!" was dubbed by the NBA as "the most famous radio call in basketball history.
Havlicek died on April 25, 2019, in Jupiter, Florida, seventeen days after his 79th birthday, after a long bout with Parkinson’s Disease.
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