Watching the 1953 John Wayne movie “Hondo” this morning reminded me of another “Hondo” — Boston Celtics and Ohio State Buckeye legend John Havlicek.
When Havlicek played his final NBA game on Sunday April 9, 1978 against the Buffalo Braves at the Boston Garden, John Wayne sent Havlicek a congratulatory telegram while recuperating from surgery.
Another “Hondo” footnote: Several years ago, Mrs. Jan Chase (wife of Marion Dental Associates’ Dr. Tim Chase) arranged through her uncle to have Havlicek autograph my copy of Bob Ryan’s book “Hondo: Celtic Man in Motion.” It is a gift for which I will be forever grateful.
One more “Hondo” footnote: John Wayne died on June 11, 1979. That same month, the Celtics signed another legend — #33 Larry Bird — to a five-year, $3.25 million contract. Bird was a most fitting successor to “Hondo” Havlicek.