Celtics Legend, Basketball Hall of Famer John Havlicek Dies at Age 79

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 26, 2019

Former Ohio State basketball player John Havlicek talks about his career during a National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame induction event Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
Colin E. Braley/Associated Press

Basketball Hall of Famer and Boston Celtics legend John Havlicek died at the age of 79 on Thursday night. 

The Celtics announced his death, writing, "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."

The NBA also released a statement on Havlicek:

Havlicek played all 16 of his NBA seasons on the Celtics and was an eight-time champion, 13-time All-Star, 11-time All-NBA selection and the 1974 NBA Finals MVP.

Boston selected Havlicek with the No. 7 overall pick in the 1962 NBA draft out of Ohio State, and he averaged 20.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game in his career. He also thrived during his three collegiate seasons with the Buckeyes and won a national title, was named a consensus All-American and was honored as an All-Big Ten selection twice.

The Celtics' announcement noted he is the franchise's all-time leader in points scored and games played and was known for his "relentless hustle and wholehearted commitment to team over self."

He also raised money for the Genesis Foundation for Children with a fishing tournament for more than 30 years.

His death drew plenty of reaction:

Havlicek's illustrious career also inspired one of the most famous radio calls in NBA history. He stole the ball in the closing seconds of Game 7 of the 1965 Eastern Conference Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers to clinch the win, prompting late broadcaster Johnny Most to yell, "Havlicek Stole the Ball!"

Havlicek's No. 17 hangs in the rafters in TD Garden, and he will forever be remembered as one of the greatest players on one of the NBA's tentpole franchises.