Announcer Johnny Most, in his radio days, called John Havlicek “Jarrin’ John”, as his Celtics were “about to do basketball battle”. Enjoy the flashback.
Yes, I know John Havlicek, #17, played most of his career at small forward, but this is my article, and I am putting him at starting shooting guard on my All-Time Celtics Top-10 list. The 6’5″, 205-pound super-athlete chalked up the following awards (partial list):
1-Time Finals MVP
5-Time All-Defense First Team
4-Time All-NBA First Team
John was taken by the Boston Celtics and the NFL’s Cleveland Browns in 1962. He chose basketball and the Celtics over football, and we are fortunate for that. Bill Russell called Havlicek “the best all-around player I ever saw”. Terrific accolade from a great man.
Jarrin’ John (as announcer Johnny Most called him) played 16 seasons for Boston and averaged more than 79 games played per season. He was an iron man who averaged 47.2 minutes/game in the 1969 Championship season and 47.0 MPG in the 1972 playoffs. His stamina wore down so many of his defenders.
Hondo was one of the top two-way players ever to don an NBA uniform. In the 1970-71 season, following the retirement of Russell and Sam Jones (whom I choose to back up Hondo at SG), he led the Celtics in almost every category, averaging 45.4 MPG, 28.9 PPG, 9.0 RPG and 7.5 APG. The video below is from the famous Finals Game 5, triple-overtime Boston win over the Phoenix Suns. Havlicek was on the floor for 58 minutes. You will get a glimpse of why I picked Jo Jo White as the point guard back-up on my list – 60 minutes, 33 points (52% FG), 6 rebounds, 9 assists.
Cerebral, clutch, relentless, versatile, dependable, courteous. These are only a few adjectives that describe Hondo. He passed away at the age of 79. I thought he was indestructible. He should have been. He was THAT good!
Follow Tom at @CelticsSentinel and @_Celtics_Center