John Havlicek, one of the great players of the 1960s and ‘70s, who Bill Russell once called the greatest all-around player he had ever seen, died on Thursday at the age of 79.
Havlicek, or Hondo, went eight-for-eight in the NBA Finals, bridging the Russell era of the late ‘60s and the Havlicek-Cowens era of the mid-’70s.
He still holds the Celtics’ franchise record for points (26,395), despite never playing with a 3-point line, and was known as a pioneer of the sixth-man role and for almost never missing a game.
He retired the NBA’s all-time leader in games (1,270) and only missed 30 regular season contests; he averaged just under 40 minutes for his playoff career; he averaged 47.2 minutes per game throughout the 1969 playoffs; he spawned one of the sport’s most famous radio calls; he was Russell’s lead assistant when both were still playing; he ran and ran and ran on the court, and, it turned out, actually had abnormally large lungs; he played at Ohio State with Bob Knight; and he lived an excessively interesting life for someone born into Ohio rurality.
Bill Simmons’ memory of Hondo’s last game (from 2007)
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