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Celtics Hall of Famer John Havlicek dies at 79

John Havlicek, Celtics

Hall of Famer John Havlicek, an intrinsic piece of the Boston Celtics’ dominance in the 60s and 70s, died on Thursday in Jupiter, Florida. He was 79.

Havlicek spent all 16 years as a pro with the Celtics, starting in 1962. Right from the get-go, he became an important part of the Celtics dynasty and became known for his relentless work ethic and hustle on the court. Havlicek suffered from Parkinson’s disease. In a statement, the Celtics organization commended Havlicek’s activities on and off the court. Per nba.com:

He was a great champion both on the court and in the community, winning 8 NBA championships and an NBA Finals MVP, while holding Celtics career records for points scored and games played. Named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, he is enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame and his retired #17 hangs in the Garden rafters. His defining traits as a player were his relentless hustle and wholehearted commitment to team over self.

He won a total of eight NBA championships — the first four were won in his first four years in the league. He is one of three NBA players with an unsurpassed 8-0 record in NBA Finals. He was the NBA Finals MVP in 1976 and was also a 13-time All-Star. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984.

For those who have only seen him via old highlight clips, the phrase “Havlicek stole the ball!” might ring a few bells. The play occurred in the closing seconds of the 1965 Eastern Conference championship and has been included in various lists as one of the greatest moments in sports history.