The basketball world took the news of John Havlicek’s death hard. The Celtics legend died Thursday in Jupiter, Fla. He was 79.
Here is a sampling of reactions from around the NBA and beyond:
NBA commissioner Adam Silver
“John Havlicek was a wonderful friend who represented the best of the NBA. He described himself as a man of routine and discipline — a humble approach that produced extraordinary results, including eight NBA championships with the Boston Celtics, 13 All-Star selections and some of the most iconic moments in league history. A trusted teammate who prioritized winning, John’s passion and energy endeared him to basketball fans and made him a model for generations of NBA players. We send our deepest sympathies to John’s wife, Beth, his son, Chris, and his daughter, Jill, as well as the entire Celtics organization.’’
Basketball Hall of Fame president and chief executive John L. Doleva
“The Basketball Hall of Fame family deeply mourns the loss and celebrates the life of John Havlicek. John was an incredible man, with a unique balance of modesty and competitive spirit. He was certainly a fan favorite in Boston and will be deeply missed in the basketball community.’’
Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca
“John was a great Celtic and an even greater person. We had the pleasure to work with John and Beth on Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children charity events pre-dating my Celtics ownership, when I was chairman of MSPCC and they were long time supporters in the fight against child abuse.
John was relentless on the court, played selflessly, and was emblematic of Celtic Pride.
He always had time for fans and kids, and was a great father as well. I will miss his easy smile and positive demeanor.
He stood for many iconic Celtics moments like Havilchek stoke the ball and I will never forget the playoff game where is couldn’t use his right shoulder so he played left handed the entire game. A true Celtics legend will be missed by all.’’
Former Boston mayor Ray Flynn
“An admiring, long-time friend . . .Thanks for what you did for the City of Boston.’’
It is getting difficult each time I hear about another contemporary that passes! What is harder is when we lose guys like John Havlicek, he was not just a teammate & a great guy, but he was family. That is how our @celtics teams were. #RIP Hondo @NBA #RIPJohnHavlicek @NBAonTNT pic.twitter.com/VP9MGPjrmZ— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) April 26, 2019
I’m sad to hear about the passing of one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history, John Havlicek. 13x All Star, 8x Champion, Finals MVP, and Hall Famer, John was a champion on the court and in the community.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) April 26, 2019
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
Heinsohn spoke Thursday to NBC Sports Boston.
“This guy was the ultimate professional player. He focused — even during the Vietnam War — it was basketball. He was 100 percent involved in everything that happened. He was a great captain. He accepted responsibility. . . . He was a Celtic all the way.’’
Celtics TV announcer Mike Gorman
I cannot come up with words to describe what we lost with the passing of John Havlicek. I can only assure you that everything you hear or read about what a genuinely good man he was is true. He was what we hope our heroes can be. @nba @celtics— Mike Gorman (@celticsvoice) April 26, 2019
Mayor Marty Walsh
John Havlicek was a gracious man and accomplished Hall of Famer - a basketball legend whose impact on the @celtics franchise as a player matched his impact on our community as a person. pic.twitter.com/Ti7I4yZBv2— Mayor Marty Walsh (@marty_walsh) April 26, 2019
ESPN basketball analyst Jay Bilas
RIP to one of the game’s greatest players, former Ohio State and Boston Celtics great John Havlicek. Hondo could run all day, and was among the classiest people in basketball. John Havlicek was unforgettable. pic.twitter.com/VYdgbt1Ttg— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) April 26, 2019
Ohio State basketball coach Chris Holtmann
All of us associated with the Men’s Basketball program are saddened to learn of the passing of Ohio State legend John Havlicek. He had an amazing career as a Buckeye and Boston Celtic. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and teammates.— Chris Holtmann (@ChrisHoltmann) April 26, 2019
Havlicek’s high school
RIP to the man that our gymnasium is named after.... former Bulldog great John Havlicek https://t.co/MNeEoUcQEa— Bridgeport Athletics (@Go_Dogs1) April 26, 2019
Former Globe sportswriter Leigh Montville
John Havlicek was just a terrific guy. It was an honor to walk him out the door after his final game. He turned out the lights in the locker room when he left. Yes. he did. pic.twitter.com/Fzuvjt50I1— Leigh Montville (@LeighMontville) April 26, 2019
Hall of Famer Alex English
Globe columnist Bob Ryan
John Havlicek has passed at age 79. This is an immense personal loss, as well as professional. If all professional athletes— Bob Ryan (@GlobeBobRyan) April 26, 2019
carried themselves as well as he did, sport would be a far better place.
We share a building and we share in this loss.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) April 26, 2019
Every New England kid listening when Johnny Most screamed "Havlicek stole the ball…" knows where he was when he heard it, and anyone who knew John Havlicek will forever remember a person who embodied goodness.
— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) April 26, 2019
John Havlicek meant a lot to me. I wrote this piece about him in 2007 and eventually turned the premise into my NBA book two years later. 510 seconds and he deserved all of them. RIP.https://t.co/l1LsABQIUW
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) April 26, 2019
— Donnie Wahlberg (@DonnieWahlberg) April 26, 2019