John Havlicek has died

John Havlicek, a Dynamo in Two Eras of Celtics Glory, Dies at 79


I saw him play often in the late 70s. He was brilliant.

I am so sad tonight. Moved to the Boston area in 1969 and saw him play many many times…

Oops, started a thread over in Thread Games.

I’m suddenly stricken by a shameful impulse to seek out that thread and learn how the hell a game can be made of a death announcement (y’know, aside from Celebrity Death Pool, which I do not claim to understand).

The great Hondo is gone. I remember watching him at the end of his playing career and his last two championships in 1974 and 1976 (but I’m not old enough to have watched him steal the ball in 1965 — the “most famous radio call in basketball history, “Havlicek stole the ball! Havlicek stole the ball!”).

John Havlicek — one of the all-time greats! He was awesome. And not the easiest name to read and pronounce too. Reagan gave it a shot in 1984 and botched it as “Hazzlek”.*

I once visited Hondo’s hometown, Bridgeport OH, across the Ohio River from Wheeling WV (gMap, Bridgeport High School’s front hall trophy case celebrated John Havlicek’s multi-sport prowess — the NFL’s Cleveland Browns drafted him at wide receiver.

Rest in Peace, Hondo, and thank you for being great.

  • — In 1984, the same year Havlicek was inducted into the HOF, President Ronald Reagan welcomed Larry Bird and Cedric Maxwell’s championship Celtics team. With Red Auerbach standing behind him, Reagan read off the names of Celtics greats of yore, Heinsohn, Havlicek, and Cowens — for Tommy Heinsohn, John Havlicek, and Dave Cowens — but instead they came out as Hine-shown, Hazzlek, and Covvins.

I think he meant “Game Room,” which is the forum for sports-related items. I debated putting this thread there, but I figured more people would see it in MPSIMS, because some people (me, for one) never go to Game Room.

Me too, the 1970s towards the end of his career, and yes he was brilliant. Thanks for starting this thread. The old-timer basketball fans may remember the 1980s and Larry Bird, Dennis Johnson, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parrish. But in the 1970s the Celtics won two championships with teams that included John Havlicek, Dave Cowens, Don Nelson, Don Chaney, Paul Silas, Paul Westphal, and Jo Jo White (who is a US Marine*!).

  • — Once a Marine, always a Marine.

“Tall Paul” and “Small Paul,” in the parlance of beloved Celts announcer Johnny Most.

I not only got the forum wrong, but my thread was about someone named “Dave Havlicek”. :smack: :rolleyes:

Saw him play against the Sonics in Seattle in the early 70’s. Havlicek and Spencer Haywood battle back and forth all game. At the end of the game the two stood at mid court, shook hands then gave each other a hug. The crowd gave them a standing O in appreciation.

RIP Sonics…

Did I read at one time that physiologically he was different, like a larger heart or lungs or something?? Loved Hondo.

In the mid-70s, I had a Spurs season ticket back when ordinary mortals could afford them. For those in the know, this was at the old HemisFair Arena BEFORE the roof was raised. Even the cheap seats were great seats 'cause the venue was so small. Back then the Spurs were new to the NBA and couldn’t get NO satisfaction, despite having a not-bad team, James Silas was the captain, George Gervin (“the dusky, pencil-thin guard from the Motor City,” as my seatmate described him), Coby Dietrich, Billy Paultz (“the Whopper” at 6’11"), and my personal heartthrob, Louis Dampier from Kentucky.

Anyhoo, I was new to professional basketball, and enjoyed watching the Spurs play week after week. I learned what I was watching and became quite a fanatical fan (but never became a Baseline Bum).

Then the Celtics came to play. Oh. This is what basketball was **supposed **to look like. :eek: I get goosebumps remembering that moment of epiphany. It was beautiful.

Later that evening, some friends and I went down to the Riverwalk and there, walking toward us, was John Havlicek (in a coat and tie BTW, even though it was right after a game). I was 20-something and possessed not one ounce of poise or self-confidence, and he walked right on by. It’s one of my medium-sized regrets that we didn’t stop him and ask him to come for a drink.

Rest in peace, Hondo.

Yes, his lungs were so large they couldn’t fit on a single X-ray plate.

Only John Havlicek’s very closest friends got to call him Dave! :smiley:

That’s a nice story, ThelmaLou, and just think, that would’ve been extremely cool if things were a little different and then you shared with us the night you hung out with Hondo, having drinks on the Riverwalk with him and just shooting the breeze.

I know. Instead I post about regret and lost opportunity. <sigh> Story of my life.

Does anyone else remember the commercial he did for Diet Rite Cola? I can still sing the song. Yes sir, I’m not a on a diet…

[quote=“peedin, post:17, topic:833063”]

Does anyone else remember the commercial he did for Diet Rite Cola? I can still sing the song. Yes sir, I’m not a on a diet…


That was great. Never saw that before.

Neither did I. Thanks for that, peedin.

My brother and I used to sing and dance to the commercial.