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Havlicek in the 1960s
April 8, 1940 |
Martins Ferry, Ohio
|Listed height||6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)|
|Listed weight||203 lb (92 kg)|
|High school||Bridgeport (Bridgeport, Ohio)|
|College||Ohio State (1959–1962)|
|NBA draft||1962 / Round: 1 / Pick: 7th overall|
|Selected by the Boston Celtics|
|Position||Small forward / Shooting guard|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Points||26,395 (20.8 ppg)|
|Rebounds||8,007 (6.3 rpg)|
|Assists||6,114 (4.8 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
|Basketball Hall of Fame as player|
|College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2015
John Joseph "Hondo" Havlicek (// HAV-lə-chek; born April 8, 1940) is an American retired professional basketball player who competed for 16 seasons with the Boston Celtics, winning eight NBA championships, four of them coming in his first four seasons.
In the National Basketball Association, only teammates Bill Russell and Sam Jones won more championships during their playing careers, and Havlicek is one of three NBA players with an unsurpassed 8-0 record in NBA Finals series outcomes. Havlicek is widely considered to be 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 and one of his boyhood friends was Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Phil Niekro.
College and NBA career
Havlicek played college basketball with Jerry Lucas at Ohio State University. That team, which had future coaching legend Bobby Knight as a reserve, won the 1960 NCAA title. He was named as an alternate to the 1960 Olympic Games United States Team.
Havlicek was drafted by both the Celtics and the NFL's Cleveland Browns 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." He was also known for his stamina, with competitors saying that it was a challenge just to keep up with him.
Nicknamed "Hondo" (inspired by the 1953 John Wayne movie of the same name), Havlicek revolutionized the "sixth man" role, and 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, 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 NBA Finals; however, Bill Russell's pass struck a wire that hung down from the ceiling and helped support the baskets, the turnover 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 about this 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.
Havlicek is the Celtics' all-time leader in points and games played, scoring 26,395 points (20.8 points per game, 13th all-time in points scored in the NBA), and playing in 1,270 games (17th all-time). He became the first player to score 1,000 points in 16 consecutive seasons, with his best season coming during the 1970–71 NBA season when he averaged 28.9 points per game.
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, as fans spilled onto the floor. But, Havlicek's shot went in with one second left and Phoenix was allowed one final shot (after Jo Jo White converted the technical foul shot for Phoenix's illegal timeout), which Gar Heard scored to force the game's third overtime. The Celtics went on to win the game in triple overtime.
Aside from being a great sixth man at the start of his career, Havlicek became known for his ability to play both forward and guard, his relentlessness and tenacity on both offense and defense, his outstanding skills in all facets of the game, his constant movement, and his tireless ability to run up and down the court. As a result of his endurance, he was a devastating fastbreak finisher, one who could suddenly score in bunches when his Celtics team would shut out the other team and grab defensive rebounds. Although he did not have a high field goal percentage, he was a clutch outside shooter with great range. He was also the type of player who would do what it took to help his team score a victory, such as grab a crucial rebound, draw a charge, come up with a steal in a key defensive moment, or settle the team with a clutch basket or assist. In 1974, Russell summed up Havlicek's career by saying "He is the best all-around player I ever saw."
A thirteen-time NBA All-Star, Havlicek retired in 1978 and his number 17 jersey was immediately retired by the Celtics. At the time of his retirement, Havlicek was the NBA career leader in games played (surpassed in 1984 by Elvin Hayes and now held by Robert Parish) and third in points behind Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson. Havlicek also retired as the career leader in field goal attempts (later surpassed by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and missed field goals (later surpassed by Kobe Bryant). Havlicek is now 26th, 15th, 6th and 2nd, respectively, in those stats.
In 1984 Havlicek became a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In 1997 he was selected as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. Havlicek was ranked #17 on SLAM Magazine's Top 50 NBA Players of all time in 2009 and once again at the same position in the magazine's Top 500 NBA Players of all time in 2011. He was also named the 14th best player of all-time in Bill Simmons's Book of Basketball.
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.
Pony International still produces a model of athletic shoes named after the iconic Basketballer called the "John Havlicek" bearing John's signature.
He is of Czech descent on his father's side and of Croatian descent on his mother's.
NBA career statistics
- List of National Basketball Association career games played leaders
- List of National Basketball Association career scoring leaders
- List of National Basketball Association career assists leaders
- List of National Basketball Association career free throw scoring leaders
- List of National Basketball Association career minutes played leaders
- List of National Basketball Association career playoff scoring leaders
- List of National Basketball Association career playoff assists leaders
- List of National Basketball Association career playoff free throw scoring leaders
- List of National Basketball Association single-game playoff scoring leaders
- List of NBA players who have spent their entire career with one franchise
- List of National Basketball Association annual minutes leaders
- List of NBA players with most championships
- Berkman, Seth (June 19, 2016), "N.B.A. Finals Legend or Loser? Luck Is Often the Difference", The New York Times
- "Basketball at the 1960 Roma Summer Games". sports-reference.com. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
- "Legends profile: Chris Mullin". NBA.com. 3 March 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
- Johnson, Dave (26 February 1994). "Dad's Legacy Shadows Havlicek". Daily Press. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
- "Q&A with new Royals coach Brian Buchanan". Kansas City Royals. Retrieved 2017-01-15.
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