On this day in Boston Celtics history, legendary Celtics forward John Havlicek died in 2019 after a long fight with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 74 in Jupiter, Florida. Hondo, as he would often be called, was born in Martins Ferry, Ohio, in 1940, and he played his college ball at nearby Ohio State, with which he won the NCAA championship in 1960.
He was drafted seventh overall in the 1962 NBA draft by Boston and played 16 seasons with the Celtics, winning eight NBA championships and being elected to 13 All-Star games, 11 All-NBA teams and 8 All-Defensive teams among many other honors.
Havlicek’s jersey was retired by Boston immediately after his playing career ended in 1978, and he was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984.
John Havlicek of the Boston Celtics is mobbed by fans and placed on their shoulders after the Celtics defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 110 to 109 to win the Eastern Division Championship of the National Basketball Assn. at Boston Garden last night, April 16, 1965. Havlicek intercepted a Philadelphia throw-in, in the last seconds of the game, fed Sam Jones and both sprinted down the court when the Buzzer sounded. (AP Photo)
It was on this date in 1950 that Celtics wing luminary Chuck Cooper became the first African American drafted into the NBA, taken out of Duquesne by Boston with the 14th overall pick. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08IK0FjcPss Cooper joined Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton and Earl Lloyd as the first African Americans to play in the league that season, making his debut on Nov. 1 against the (then) Fort Wayne (now, Detroit) Pistons. Cooper play four seasons for the Celtics, averaging 6.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game over that stretch. He was elected to the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2019. https://twitter.com/NBAHistory/status/965423049150431232
On the same day, Boston selected Ed Macauley in the St. Louis Bombers dispersal draft, done to distribute the players from that franchise among the other NBA teams in the league after that franchise went under. Macauley played six seasons with the Celtics and was elected to six All-Star games and four All-NBA teams over that stretch, during which he averaged 18.9 points, 8.1 boards and 3.7 assists. “Easy Ed” would later be dealt away with Cliff Hagan’s contract to the St. Louis Hawks for Boston big man luminary Bill Russell. https://twitter.com/Daysofour_Lives/status/1098208336598593537
It is also the date of the 1951 NBA draft, held in New York City, in which the Celtics drafted two players of note. The first was point guard Jim Luisi, taken 56th out of St. Francis college. Luisi never played for Boston, instead fighting in the Korean War before returning to play a season for the Baltimore Bullets. He later become an actor. https://twitter.com/KStateAlumni/status/976809663848042496
The other was shooting guard Ernie Barrett, selected by the Celtics seventh overall out of Kansas State. Barret played two seasons for Boston, averaging 4.9 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game in his Celtics tenure. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZJZdf5Wt3k
It is also the anniversary of the 1965 NBA Championship won by Boston over the Los Angeles Lakers. The Celtics ended the best-of-seven series in Game 5 with a 129-96 blowout. The loss came despite guard Jerry West’s 33 points. Boston legend Russell pulled down 30 rebounds to go with his 22 points. https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1253718839910707205?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1253718839910707205%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fcelticswire.usatoday.com%2Fwp-admin%2Fpost.php%3Fpost%3D33251action%3Dedit
Finally, it is the anniversary of the famous fight between Tree Rollins of the Atlanta Hawks and current team president and then-Celtics shooting guard Danny Ainge. Rollins and Ainge were involved in a benches-clearing fight during the 1983 Eastern Conference playoffs first round. During the fight, Rollins was caught chomping on Ainge’s finger. Both were fined for the altercation, leading to one of the greatest headlines in sports history, “Tree Bites Man.” This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook! [lawrence-related id=49445,49443,49432,49395] [listicle id=49449]
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