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John Havlicek
John Havliceck, Boston Celtics, 1960s.jpg
Havlicek in the 1960s
Personal information
Born (1940-04-08) April 8, 1940 (age 78)
Martins Ferry, Ohio
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Listed weight 203 lb (92 kg)
Career information
High school Bridgeport (Bridgeport, Ohio)
College Ohio State (1959–1962)
NBA draft 1962 / Round: 1 / Pick: 7th overall
Selected by the Boston Celtics
Playing career 1962–1978
Position Small forward / Shooting guard
Number 17
Career history
19621978 Boston Celtics
Career highlights and awards
Career statistics
Points 26,395 (20.8 ppg)
Rebounds 8,007 (6.3 rpg)
Assists 6,114 (4.8 apg)
Stats at
Basketball Hall of Fame as player
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006

John Joseph "Hondo" Havlicek (/ˈhævlɪɛk/ HAV-li-chek; born April 8, 1940) is an American retired professional basketball player who competed for 16 seasons with the Boston Celtics, winning eight NBA championships, four of them coming in his first four seasons.

In the National Basketball Association, only teammates Bill Russell and Sam Jones won more championships during their playing careers, and Havlicek is one of three NBA players with an unsurpassed 8–0 record in NBA Finals series outcomes.[1] Havlicek is widely considered to be one of the greatest players in the history of the game and was inducted as a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984. He was a three-sport athlete at Bridgeport High School in Bridgeport, Ohio.

College and NBA career[edit]

Havlicek played college basketball with Jerry Lucas, who was his roommate, at Ohio State University. That team, which had future coaching legend Bobby Knight as a reserve, won the 1960 NCAA title. He was named as an alternate to the 1960 Olympic Games United States Team.[2]

Havlicek was drafted by both the Celtics and the NFL's Cleveland Browns in 1962. After competing briefly as a wide receiver in the Browns' training camp that year, he focused his energies on playing for the Celtics, with head coach Red Auerbach later describing him as the "guts of the team." He was also known for his stamina, with competitors saying that it was a challenge just to keep up with him.

Nicknamed "Hondo" (inspired by the 1953 John Wayne movie of the same name), Havlicek revolutionized the "sixth man" role, and has been immortalized for his clutch steal in the closing seconds of the 1965 Eastern Conference championship.

In the seventh and final game, played at Boston Garden, the Celtics led the Philadelphia 76ers 110–109 with five seconds left, and only needed to inbound the ball underneath their basket to secure the victory and advance to the NBA Finals; however, Bill Russell's pass struck a wire that hung down from the ceiling and helped support the baskets, the turnover giving the 76ers and Wilt Chamberlain the ball and a chance to win the game—and the series. Hal Greer was set to throw the inbounds pass for the 76ers. Havlicek stood with his back to Greer, guarding Chet Walker. But as Greer's pass came inbounds, Havlicek spun, leaped and tipped the pass to Sam Jones. Veteran referee Earl Strom, who wrote about this in his memoir "Calling the Shots", called Havlicek's reaction one of the greatest plays he ever saw in his 32 years as a professional official.[citation needed]

Havlicek is the Celtics' all-time leader in points and games played, scoring 26,395 points (20.8 points per game, 13th all-time in points scored in the NBA), and playing in 1,270 games (17th all-time). He became the first player to score 1,000 points in 16 consecutive seasons, with his best season coming during the 1970–71 NBA season when he averaged 28.9 points per game.

Havlicek shares the NBA Finals single-game record for most points in an overtime period (9 in a May 10, 1974 game vs. the Milwaukee Bucks), and was named that year's NBA Finals MVP.

In the second overtime of Game Five of the 1976 NBA Finals, Havlicek made a leaning, running bank shot that appeared to be the game-winner, as fans spilled onto the floor, but Havlicek's shot went in with one second left and Phoenix was allowed one final shot (after Jo Jo White converted the technical foul shot for Phoenix's illegal timeout), which Gar Heard scored to force the game's third overtime. The Celtics went on to win the game in triple overtime.

Aside from being a great sixth man at the start of his career, Havlicek became known for his ability to play both forward and guard, his relentlessness and tenacity on both offense and defense, his outstanding skills in all facets of the game, his constant movement, and his tireless ability to run up and down the court. As a result of his endurance, he was a devastating fastbreak finisher, one who could suddenly score in bunches when his Celtics team would shut out the other team and grab defensive rebounds. Although he did not have a high field goal percentage, he was a clutch outside shooter with great range. He was also the type of player who would do what it took to help his team score a victory, such as grab a crucial rebound, draw a charge, come up with a steal in a key defensive moment, or settle the team with a clutch basket or assist. In 1974, Russell summed up Havlicek's career by saying "He is the best all-around player I ever saw."[citation needed]


A thirteen-time NBA All-Star, Havlicek retired in 1978 and his number 17 jersey was immediately retired by the Celtics. At the time of his retirement, Havlicek was the NBA career leader in games played (surpassed in 1984 by Elvin Hayes and now held by Robert Parish) and third in points behind Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson. Havlicek also retired as the career leader in field goal attempts (later surpassed by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and missed field goals (later surpassed by Kobe Bryant). Havlicek is now 26th, 15th, 6th and 2nd, respectively, in those stats.

In 1984 Havlicek became a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In 1997, he was selected as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. Havlicek was ranked #17 on SLAM magazine's Top 50 NBA Players of all time in 2009 and once again at the same position in the magazine's Top 500 NBA Players of all time in 2011. He was also named the 14th best player of all-time in Bill Simmons's Book of Basketball.

The Bridgeport High School Gymnasium was renamed the "John J. Havlicek Gymnasium" in January 2007. He shares the honor with National High School Hall of Fame member Frank Baxter, a longtime coach at Bridgeport High School. The court is named after Baxter.

Fellow Hall of Famer Chris Mullin wore number 17 as a tribute to Havlicek.[3]

Pony International still produces a model of athletic shoes named after the iconic basketballer called the "John Havlicek" bearing John's signature.[4]


Havlicek's son Chris played collegiate basketball for the University of Virginia in the early 1990s.[5] His daughter Jill married retired MLB outfielder and current MLB coach Brian Buchanan.[6]

He is of Czech descent on his father's side and of Croatian descent on his mother's.

NBA career statistics[edit]

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high
Denotes seasons in which Havlicek won an NBA championship
* Led the league

Regular season[edit]

1962–63 Boston 80* 27.5 .445 .728 6.7 2.2 14.3
1963–64 Boston 80 32.3 .417 .746 5.4 3.0 19.9
1964–65 Boston 75 28.9 .401 .744 4.9 2.7 18.3
1965–66 Boston 71 30.6 .399 .785 6.0 3.0 18.8
1966–67 Boston 81* 32.1 .444 .828 6.6 3.4 21.4
1967–68 Boston 82 35.6 .429 .812 6.7 4.7 20.7
1968–69 Boston 82 38.7 .405 .780 7.0 5.4 21.6
1969–70 Boston 81 41.6 .464 .844 7.8 6.8 24.2
1970–71 Boston 81 45.4* .450 .818 9.0 7.5 28.9
1971–72 Boston 82 45.1* .458 .834 8.2 7.5 27.5
1972–73 Boston 80 42.1 .450 .858 7.1 6.6 23.8
1973–74 Boston 76 40.7 .456 .832 6.4 5.9 1.3 .4 22.6
1974–75 Boston 82 38.2 .455 .870 5.9 5.3 1.3 .2 19.2
1975–76 Boston 76 34.2 .450 .844 4.1 3.7 1.3 .4 17.0
1976–77 Boston 79 36.9 .452 .816 4.8 5.1 1.1 .2 17.7
1977–78 Boston 82 34.1 .449 .855 4.0 4.0 1.1 .3 16.1
Career 1,270 36.6 .439 .815 6.3 4.8 1.2 .3 20.8
All-Star 13 10 23.3 .481 .756 3.5 2.6 .3 .0 13.8


1963 Boston 11 23.1 .448 .667 4.8 1.5 11.8
1964 Boston 10 28.9 .384 .795 4.3 3.2 15.7
1965 Boston 12 33.8 .352 .836 7.3 2.4 18.5
1966 Boston 17 42.3 .409 .841 9.1 4.1 23.6
1967 Boston 9 36.7 .448 .803 8.1 3.1 27.4
1968 Boston 19 45.4 .452 .828 8.6 7.5 25.9
1969 Boston 18 47.2* .445 .855 9.9 5.6 25.4
1972 Boston 11 47.0* .460 .859 8.4 6.4 27.4
1973 Boston 12 39.9 .477 .824 5.2 5.4 23.8
1974 Boston 18 45.1 .484 .881 6.4 6.0 1.3 .3 27.1
1975 Boston 11 42.2 .432 .868 5.2 4.6 1.5 .1 21.1
1976 Boston 15 33.7 .444 .809 3.7 3.4 .8 .3 13.2
1977 Boston 9 41.7 .371 .820 5.4 6.9 .9 .4 18.3
Career 172 39.9 .436 .836 6.9 4.8 1.1 .3 22.0

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Berkman, Seth (June 19, 2016), "N.B.A. Finals Legend or Loser? Luck Is Often the Difference", The New York Times
  2. ^ "Basketball at the 1960 Roma Summer Games". Archived from the original on 25 October 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  3. ^ "Legends profile: Chris Mullin". 3 March 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ Johnson, Dave (26 February 1994). "Dad's Legacy Shadows Havlicek". Daily Press. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  6. ^ "Q&A with new Royals coach Brian Buchanan". Kansas City Royals. Retrieved 2017-01-15.

External links[edit]


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