By Olivia Koravos
John Joseph Havlicek, former NBA star who played every season of his career with the Celtics, accumulating an incredible 16 years in the NBA, passed away in late Apr. 2019 at the age of 79. Havlicek won eight championships for Boston, with only two other players in Celtics history winning more than him. According to Tim Bontemps of ESPN, Havlicek had been fighting an ongoing battle with Parkinson’s disease. The Boston Celtics released a statement on Apr. 25 honoring Havlicek:
“John Havlicek is one of the most accomplished players in Boston Celtics history, and the face of many franchise’s signature moments,” the organization said. “He was a champion in every sense, and as we join his family, friends, and fans mourning his loss, we are thankful for all the joy and inspiration he brought to us.”
Havlicek is said to be one of the greatest players in the history of basketball. In 1984, he was inducted into Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, which is located in Springfield, Massachusetts. Drafted to both the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Browns in 1962, Havlicek spent some time in Brown’s training camp but decided to move forward solely with the Celtics. This clearly ended up being an incredibly impactful decision for the Ohio-native. After all, Havlicek is the Celtics all-time leader in both points and games played. Over his 16 seasons with the Celtics, he accumulated 26,395 points, with Paul Pierce and Larry Bird thousands of points behind him in the ranks. The man was also named NBA Finals MVP when the Celtics won the 1974 NBA Championship against the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Celtics are currently playing in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Milwaukee Bucks. This gives them the opportunity to honor Havlicek at their next home game, which will take place on May 3, 2019, at the TD Garden. Some specifics have been released already, Bontemps reported that “the Celtics will wear a black stripe with the No. 17 on it to honor Havlicek on their jerseys,” And that “the team also plans to wear a special Havlicek- themed shooting shirt for Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinal against the Bucks when the series moves to Boston.”
Fans can tune-in to see how the Celtics remember Havlicek Friday at 8 p.m. on ESPN.