John Havlicek
Havlicek in the 1970s
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
Number17
Career history
19621978Boston 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 Edit this at Wikidata at Basketball-Reference.com
Basketball Hall of Fame as player
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006

John Joseph Havlicek (/ˈhævlɪɛk/ 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 Czech and Croatian descent, 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 eight 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 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

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high
 †  Won an NBA championship  *  Led the league

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 April 27, 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 April 27, 2019.
  5. ^ Petraglia, Mike (April 25, 2019). "Celtics Legend John Havlicek Dies at Age of 79". CLNS Media. Retrieved April 26, 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 December 24, 2014.
  8. ^ a b "John Havlicek". www.hoophall.com. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  9. ^ a b Johnson, Alex. "John Havlicek, Celtics legend who 'stole the ball!' dies at 79". NBC.com. Retrieved April 26, 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 January 16, 2019.
  18. ^ "Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers Box Score, April 15, 1968". Basketball-Reference. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  19. ^ "Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers Box Score, April 19, 1968". Basketball-Reference. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  20. ^ a b "Legends profile: John Havlicek". NBA.com. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  21. ^ "Greatest Game Ever". NBA.com. Retrieved April 27, 2019.
  22. ^ "Greatest Game Ever Played". NBA.com. Retrieved August 8, 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 May 29, 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 April 26, 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 April 26, 2019.
  28. ^ "NBA History: The NBA's 50 Greatest Players". www.nba.com. Archived from the original on June 4, 2019. Retrieved April 27, 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 April 26, 2019.
  31. ^ "John J. Havlicek Gymnasium". Bridgeport School District.
  32. ^ "Legends profile: Chris Mullin". NBA.com. March 3, 2013. Retrieved December 5, 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 August 22, 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.