Doug Collins Gave John Havlicek His Starting Spot In Hondo’s Final All-Star Game
46 years ago today, John Havlicek, one of the greatest players in NBA history, played his 13th and final All-Star Game on February 5, 1978, at the Omni Coliseum in Atlanta.
The 37-year-old Boston Celtics legend, who had announced his retirement before the season, was voted as a reserve by the fans, but received a special gesture from one of his rivals.
Doug Collins, the Philadelphia 76ers’ star guard, decided to give up his starting spot in the Eastern Conference team to Havlicek, who had been his fierce competitor for many years. Collins said he wanted to honor Havlicek’s illustrious career and show his respect for the man who had won eight NBA championships, a Finals MVP, and four All-NBA First Team selections.
Havlicek, who was known for his stamina, hustle, and clutch plays, appreciated Collins’ gesture and thanked him for the opportunity. He started alongside Julius Erving, Elvin Hayes, Bob McAdoo, and Pete Maravich, and played 17 minutes in the game. He scored 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting, grabbed two rebounds, and dished out two assists. He also received a standing ovation from the crowd when he was introduced and when he left the game.
The Eastern Conference won the game 133-125, with Erving earning the MVP honors. Havlicek, who was the only player in the game who had played in the 1960s, said he enjoyed his final All-Star appearance and felt grateful for the recognition he received from his peers and the fans.
Havlicek finished his career with 26,395 points, 8,007 rebounds, and 6,114 assists, ranking among the top 20 in NBA history in all three categories. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984 and was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996. He is widely regarded as one of the best small forwards of all time and one of the most beloved Celtics ever.