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  • Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West and more pay tribute following the death of Celtics legend John Havlicek.
By Matt Dollinger
April 26, 2019

The NBA has lost one of the greatest, and most beloved players, in its 72-year history. Basketball Hall of Famer and Celtics legend John Havlicek passed away Thursday at the age of 79.

Havlicek was an eight-time NBA champion with the Celtics and made 13 All-Star Games over his 16-year career. He racked up 11 All-NBA appearances, eight All-Defense appearances and ranks No. 16 on the NBA's all-time scoring list. 

But Havlicek was best known for his hustle and his heart. "Hondo" was known as the "perpetual motion machine" during his heydey with the Celtics, hounding opponents on the floor and wearing them down. His most famous play came in the 1965 Eastern Conference finals when he stole the inbounds pass to seal the victory and Boston's play-by-play announcer Johnny Most exclaimed: "Havlicek steals it! Over to Sam Jones! Havlicek stole the ball! It's all over! It's all over! Johnny Havlicek is being mobbed by the fans!"

On Thursday, NBA stars, legends and journalists reacted to passing of Havlicek. Below is a roundup of their tributes. (Click here to see SI's classic photos of "Hondo.")

Former U.S. Senator and two-time NBA champion Bill Bradley

"For ten years, John Havlicek was my toughest opponent in the biggest rivalry in the league. Night after night he was the epitome of constant motion. He only needed half a step to beat me, which he usually did. He was the quintessential Celtic—unselfish and loyal—and through the players’ union he helped make the game more just by ending the reserve clause. The only thing he loved more than the game was his family. He’ll always be with them."

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