On April 25, 2019, the NBA lost one of their most accomplished players of all-time as John Havlicek passed away at the age of 79.
Havlicek enjoyed a 16-year career with the Boston Celtics that included 13 All-Star selections and a whopping eight NBA championships.
Tributes have poured in from NBA stars past and present including one from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who recalled his first interaction with Havlicek, via Twitter:
I met John Havlicek at the same time & place that I met Red Auerbach & Bill Russell @ my high school gym in Autumn of 1961 – my freshman year. He was still playing when I entered the league & our friendship grew… #17 will always be class act! RIP @NBA
— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@kaj33) April 26, 2019
Jerry West, who played against Havlicek in six NBA Finals, recalled his work ethic and progression to stardom, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Jerry West on Hondo: “Playing in Boston, with so many great teams and so much success winning titles, the legend of John grew. He improved a lot through his career. It was a sign of how hard he worked at his game. Toward the end of his career, he became a terrific scorer.” https://t.co/ZgkORe9q1W
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 26, 2019
During his stint with the Celtics, Havlicek averaged 20.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. He enjoyed what was arguably his best statistical season during the 1970-71 season when he posted a career-high 28.9 points per game.
Havlicek was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984 and is one of only four players in NBA history to win at least eight championships.