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Chris Ford, 1981 NBA Champion with Celtics, Dies at Age 74

Erin WalshJanuary 18, 2023

BOSTON, MA - 1994: Head Coach Chris Ford of the Boston Celtics looks on from the sideline during a game played circa 1994 at the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1994 NBAE (Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images)
Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images

Former Boston Celtics player and head coach Chris Ford, who won three NBA titles with the organization, died Tuesday. He was 74.

The Ford family said in a statement:

"The Ford family is sad to announce the passing of Chris on January 17, 2023. Chris was beloved by his family, friends, and teammates. He had a great love for his family, the city of Boston, the fans, and the entire Celtics family. He always showed humility and respect for all those that were fortunate enough to be a part of his life."

Ford spent nearly four of his 10 NBA seasons playing for the Celtics, suiting up for the franchise from the 1978-79 season through the 1981-82 campaign. He helped Boston capture its 12th NBA title in 1981.

The Villanova product also played for the Detroit Pistons from the 1972-73 season until he was traded to the Celtics early in the 1978-79 season in exchange for Earl Tatum.

Ford began his coaching career as an assistant for the Celtics in 1983 and won two more titles with the franchise as an assistant in 1984 and 1986. He later took over as head coach, serving in the role from the 1990-91 season through the 1994-95 campaign, leading the C's to the playoffs four times.

Ford also spent time coaching the Milwaukee Bucks from 1996-1998 and the Los Angeles Clippers from 1998-2000. Additionally, he saw time as an interim head coach for the Philadelphia 76ers in 2003-2004.

In 10 seasons as a head coach, Ford went 323-376 and 13-16 in the playoffs. His Celtics tenure was the best of his career as he led the franchise to a 222-188 record in five seasons.