Former Ohio State basketball player John Havlicek has died after a lengthy out with Parkinson’s Disease, according to a statement released by the Boston Celtics on Thursday night. He was 79 years old.
It is with great sadness we have learned that Celtics Legend and Hall of Famer John Havlicek has passed away peacefully today at the age of 79. He will be dearly missed by his Celtics family.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 26, 2019
In a statement, the Celtics said Havlicek “is one of the most accomplished players in Boston Celtics history, and the face of many of the franchise’s signature moments. 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.”
Havlicek was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984 and is considered one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history. He won eight NBA championships with Boston and his No. 17 hangs in the TD Garden rafters.
“His defining traits as a player were his relentless hustle and wholehearted commitment to team over self. He was extraordinarily thoughtful and generous, both on a personal level and for those in need, as illustrated by his commitment to raising money for The Genesis Foundation for Children for over three decades through his fishing tournament. John was kind and considerate, humble and gracious. 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.”
Before he was selected by the Celtics with the 7th overall pick in the 1962 NBA Draft, Havlicek was a three-year starter at Ohio State. He led the Buckeyes to a 78-6 record, three-consecutive Final Fours and the 1960 national title. He was a two-time All-Big Ten selection and a first-team All-American as a senior.
Havlicek is one of just five men’s basketball players to have his jersey (No. 5) retired by the program, joining Jerry Lucas (11), Evan Turner (21), Jim Jackson (22) and Gary Bradds (35).
“All of us associated with the men’s basketball program are saddened to learn of the passing of Ohio State legend John Havlicek,” head coach Chris Holtmann said in a statement. “He had an amazing career as a Buckeye and Boston Celtic. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and teammates.”