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Passing of an icon

Dear Editor,

I would like to respectfully express my condolences in memorializing and reflecting on the iconic career and exemplary life of Bridgeport native John J. Havlicek, who sadly passed away recently.

Mr. Havlicek, who was a 1958 graduate of Bridgeport High School, where he distinguished himself as one of the finest high school basketball players in the nation, had an outstanding collegiate career on the basketball court with Ohio State University, leading the Buckeyes to the NCAA National Championship in 1960, and later to an exemplary career with the National Basketball Association’s Boston Celtics, for which he helped bring NBA championships for the 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1974 and 1976 seasons.

Mr. Havlicek’s career in professional basketball for the Boston Celtics began in 1962, following his being drafted in the first round of that year’s NBA draft. It culminated in his retirement from professional basketball 16 years later, following the 1978 season.

During his NBA career, Mr. Havlicek scored 26,395 points in 1,270 games, a 20.8 point per game average, along with his scoring of 3,776 points in 172 games in the post-season, and for his efforts was selected for the All-MBA first team four times and the All-NBA second team seven times, and was also selected to the All-NBA defensive team five times, and the All-NBA defensive second team three times.

During his illustrious career, Mr. Havlicek was selected and participated in 13 NBA All-Star games scoring 179 points.

As a result of his stellar basketball career, Mr. Havlicek was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984, as well as the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015; was selected as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history in 1966, had his jersey number (#17) retired by the Boston Celtics, and had the new gymnasium at his Alma Mater, Bridgeport High School, upon the opening of the new facility in 2007, named the “John J. Havlicek Gymnasium” in his honor.

Also, recently Mr. Havlicek was selected by “Slam” magazine recently as the 24th greatest player in NBA history, as well as the 57th greatest collegiate basketball player of all time.

In addition, Mr. Havlicek was always known for being the consummate teammate, always giving the maximum effort both offensively and defensively, and in addition to being the true professional on the court, was known as a humble, conscientious individual, who was respectful and helpful to others throughout his life off the court, as well.

Individuals such as Mr. Havlicek, who are the personification of honesty, integrity, and decorum are indeed quite rare.

Richard Hord

Martins Ferry

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