(WPRI) — John Havlicek, the Boston Celtics great whose steal of Hal Green’s inbounds pass in the final seconds of the 1965 Eastern Conference final against the Philadelphia 76ers remains one of the most famous plays in NBA history, has died. He was 79.
The Boston Celtics released a statement after learning of Havlicek’s passing, saying he will be “dearly missed by his Celtics family.”
“His defining traits as a player were his relentless hustle and wholehearted commitment to team over self,” the statement reads.
Nicknamed “Hondo” for his resemblance to John Wayne, Havlicek was drafted in the first round in 1962 out of Ohio State by a Celtics team stocked with stars Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, K.C. Jones, Sam Jones, Tom Sanders, Tom Heinsohn and Frank Ramsey.
Havlicek went on to win eight NBA championships and an NBA Finals MVP award with Boston, setting Celtics career records for points and games. He was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History and enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984.
“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 statement said.