Cover Image for “Havlicek stole the ball!”: When the most famous play in NBA history came to life as the Boston Celtics won in 1965

“Havlicek stole the ball!”: When the most famous play in NBA history came to life as the Boston Celtics won in 1965

Jeet Pukhrambam
|Thu Apr 14 2022

John Havlicek holds a unique spot in Boston Celtics and NBA history. His steal against the 76er is arguably the greatest play in NBA history. 

1965, April 15th, the Eastern Conference Finals. Boston Celtics are up by 1, in a thrilling 110-109 game against the Philadelphia 76ers. It is game seven. 

The stakes could not have been higher. Philadelphia has the ball and an inbound play is about to take shape. 

Enter John Havlicek. 76ers’ Hal Greer is set to launch the inbound from the baseline, under his own basket. John sees this coming. 

His anticipation has turned out to be fruitful and as he peeks over his shoulder, he sees a lob pass. 

Havlicek tips the ball over to teammate Sam Jones who dribbles out the clock. A riot ensues and fans go into a frenzy. 

Also read: “What you gone do for me?”: Jayson Tatum quotes Jay-Z lyrics in a tweet after leading the Boston Celtics to 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference


“Havlicek stole the ball! It’s all over! It’s all over!”: How Havlicek walked into the Boston Celtics’ history books

Celtics broadcaster Johnny Most’s words echo throughout the Boston Garden as the Celtics are headed to the finals. 

The Cs would then go on to face Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals. The Celtics would be triumphant beating them 4-1. This win would give them their seventh of eight consecutive titles.  


While a lot of other aspects of the season might be forgotten, one thing is certain, this moment will forever be etched onto history. 

Today this moment is widely celebrated, and this year is the 57th anniversary of the NBA’s greatest play. While Havlicek may no longer be with us, his iconic steal certainly will be. 

Also read: “Bill Russell gave me an insight I had never heard before”: When Kobe Bryant reminisced on how his relationship with the Celtics legend began

About the author
Jeet Pukhrambam

Jeet Pukhrambam

Jeet Pukhrambam is TheSportsRush's editor and creative writer. After freelancing for five years as an independent writer, Jeet has created thousands of blog posts and articles. He now covers intriguing news reports and throwback stories on all things NBA. In his free time, he enjoys techno, football, cooking, and traveling. Jeet takes pride in his critical thinking, music playlists, and his love for spaghetti.

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