The NBA is full of unusual talents over the decades. Wilt Chamberlain, Muggsy Bogues, Manute Bol, Charles Barkley, Dennis Rodman, Zion Williamson, Larry Bird, Bill Bradley. You could go on all day.
Yet no one has ever come along quite like John Havlicek.
A highly regarded and athletic 6-5 wing out of Ohio State, where he was a teammate of Bobby Knight among others, Havlicek was drafted in 1962 - by the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Browns.
He chose to stick with basketball and eventually took over Frank Ramsey’s role as Boston’s sixth man, a role that Celtics legend Red Auerbach basically invented.
Havlicek emerged not just as a great player but more interestingly as a relentless one: the guy never stopped moving.
It was a deadly combination as you’ll see here. And his body never seemed to break down: in 1977, at the age of 37, he was able to guard one of the great athletes in NBA history, Julius Erving.
Later, when Larry Bird exploded on the NBA scene as a rookie in 1979-80, Havlicek said he wished he had played a few more years so he could claim Bird as a teammate.
Here’s his last game where he scored 29 points, had eight assists and four rebounds. He probably did have a few more years in him.
Keep in mind that he did all of this before the various revolutions in training, equipment, technology and nutrition.