‘He Was a Champion in Every Sense’: John Havlicek Dies at 79

by April 26, 2019

John Havlicek, a beloved Boston Celtic and one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players, died at the age of 79 on Thursday.

No cause of death was given, but it was known that Havlicek suffered from Parkinson’s disease.

“Hondo” was named an All-Star in 13 out of his 16 Hall of Fame seasons, becoming the Celtics’ all-time leading scorer, and won eight titles.

“He was a champion in every sense,” the team said in a statement.

Per The Boston Globe:

Every one of Mr. Havlicek’s 16 seasons was spent in a Celtics uniform, 13 of them as an all-star. Throughout, he set league records for games played (1,270) and consecutive 1,000-point seasons (all 16), as he played across Celtic dynasties. He was known for his huge lungs and an epic work ethic, constantly hustling the floor quarter after quarter and honing his skills long beyond when other basketball players hit the point of retirement.

“Havlicek stole the ball” is still one of the great rallying cries in sports history, shouted by announcer Johnny Most and quietly repeated by countless numbers of aspiring players in pickup games across the region for years after.

“John Havlicek is one of the most accomplished players in Boston Celtics history, and the face of many of the franchise’s signature moments,’’ the Celtics said in a statement. “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.’’

Fellow Hall of Famer Bill Russell, who played alongside Mr. Havlicek for seven years before handing over the captaincy to him, simply said, “He is the best all-around player I ever saw.”

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