Nine-Time NBA Champion John Havlicek Dies At 79 After Battle With Parkinson’s Disease
“Havlicek stole the ball,” remains one of the best, well-known lines in professional basketball.
John Havlicek passed away Thursday in Jupiter, Florida, after suffering from reported Parkinson’s disease. The Celtics confirmed his death.
All 16 years of Havlicek’s career, he played in a green and white jersey. He spent 13 of those 16 years as an All-Star. His next-level work rate had him finish with 1,000 points consistently all 16 seasons.
“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.’’
Havlicek averaged around 20 points a game, but was best known for his defensive duties as a Celtics defender. The Celtics have also retired Havlicek’s No. 17 jersey, hanging above the rafters, alongside their multiple championships.
Havlicek was around for eight of the Celtics’ titles, an astounding stat, never losing an NBA Finals series. Havlicek also played in more game (1,270) than Hall of Famer Bill Russell. Havlicek also scored more overall points, (26,395) than Larry Bird and assisted more (6,114) than any C’s has before, besides Bob Cousy.
When asked if his age of basketball would get outplayed by today’s more dynamic game, Havlicek said, “I certainly think we could compete, and given the same latitude” as modern players “wraparound dribbles, three or four steps to the rim, we would be even better,” Havlicek told The New York Times in 2009. “For every dunk they’d get on us, we’d probably get two backdoor layups on them.”
Rest In Power John Havlicek. A #Celtics legend.
— Jon Alba (@JonAlba) April 26, 2019
— Jon Diebler (@J_Diebler) April 26, 2019
Havlicek stole the ball. https://t.co/UbQQWvRbeV
— Jon (@outplayer1) April 26, 2019