The Boston Bruins have a tribute to the life of John Havlicek of the Boston Celtics before a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on April 27, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images).
BOSTON ( WBZ NewsRadio) — Nice tribute to the late, great John Havlicek yesterday by the Celtics, who paid homage in the best way possible – by putting on a display of basketball reminiscent of the Celtic teams Havlicek led back in the 1970s.
They were my favorite Celtics teams of all-time because of the total team concept they embodied.
And just as Havlicek is being hailed as a role model, so too should those teams and the way they went about their business.
Contrary to the contemporary NBA template, where a team is supposed to have two or three superstars in order to compete, the 1974 Celtics had one, Havlicek, who never played diva the way they do today. They had superstar-quality players who filled roles instead of the stat sheet.
Dave Cowens was an undersized but brilliant center who played one of the greatest centers of all time, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, to a draw in the 1974 Finals.
Paul Silas was the best rebounder of his era, Don Chaney a lockdown defender.
And shooting guard JoJo White could have been a prolific scorer if he wasn’t such a selfless teammate.
A few years before he died I had a chance to chat with Mr. White, and asked him what he thought of LeBron James.
He smiled, and said: “You have to remember, there’s no ‘I’ in team.”
For long stretches this season, the Celtics looked like a group of selfish players, unwilling to sacrifice their own egos for the betterment of the team. Not yesterday.
What a great way to honor Havlicek’s unsurpassed career and the champions of the ‘70s he led.
If the Celtics keep this up, a new generation of fans will experience the lesson of what a team can accomplish that individuals can’t.
Listen to Jon's commentary: