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John Havlicek - A Great Loss For The Game

The great Hondo dies this week at 79

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 13: Member of the Boston Celtics 1966 and 1976 Championship teams John Havlicek is honored at halftime of the game between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat at TD Garden on April 13, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. 
Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

In basketball, movement may be the most important variable. You can pass the ball faster than you can run with it but running without it is just as important. The more you move the more variables you introduce.

And no one we can think of has ever moved better without the basketball than John Havlicek.

If you watch this clip of Havlicek, what’s striking is that he’s not overwhelming at anything - other than effort.

He never stops. He keeps moving. If he misses the shot he goes for the rebound. If there’s a break he’s in it.

The one criticism we might make is that his ball handling isn’t up to modern standards but other than that he’s a very modern player.

Or was.

Hondo died this week at 79. The great irony is that he died of Parkinson’s and at the end, the man who defined constant movement in basketball could barely move at all.

Havlicek was as big a part of the Celtics dynasty as anyone and was the bridge between the Bill Russell era and the rebirth when Dave Cowens showed up.

He retired in 1978 with eight championships, trailing only Russell, and said later that if had known Larry Bird was coming along he would have played a bit longer.

He was 38 when he left the game and he could still play.

He leaves behind a tremendous legacy as a winner and, from all accounts, a decent man.

Watch the video and see the game as it was meant to be played.