Johnny Most: The Legendary Voice of the Boston Celtics


33 years ago today, on December 3, 1990, the Boston Celtics honored long-time announcer Johnny Most by unveiling a banner bearing a microphone on the balcony facade near his old broadcast position. Most retired following the 1989-90 season after calling Celtics games on the radio for 37 years.



Most’s distinctive voice, impassioned style, and unwavering loyalty made him a beloved figure among Celtics fans for decades.

Born on June 15, 1923, in Boston, Massachusetts, John Most gained a deep love for basketball during his formative years. His journey into sports commentary began at a local radio station, where he quickly distinguished himself with his energetic and animated delivery. His passion for the game and his hometown team, the Boston Celtics, would define his career for years to come.

Johnny Most’s association with the Celtics began in the late 1950s when he took over as the team’s play-by-play radio announcer. His unmistakable Boston accent and colorful expressions became synonymous with Celtics basketball. Most’s voice carried the highs and lows of the team, from the exhilarating victories to the heartbreaking defeats.

One of his most famous catchphrases was the emphatic “Havlicek stole the ball!” during the 1965 Eastern Conference Finals. Most’s ability to capture the intensity of the moment endeared him to Celtics fans and secured his place in sports broadcasting history.

Most was known for his unique style, which went beyond the standard play-by-play commentary. His unabashed passion for the Celtics often led him to express his opinions and emotions openly during broadcasts. Most’s candidness and fervor resonated with fans, creating an emotional connection that transcended traditional commentary.

Apart from “Havlicek stole the ball,” Most coined several memorable catchphrases that became part of Celtics lore. Phrases like “To the line, to the lane, to the basket!” and “Up high for a big one!” were just a few examples of Most’s signature calls that added a layer of excitement to every Celtics game.



Johnny Most’s tenure as the voice of the Celtics spanned over three decades, from 1953 to 1990. He witnessed and chronicled the team’s remarkable success, including multiple NBA championships. His impact went beyond the radio waves, as Most became an integral part of Celtics culture.

After retiring in 1990, Most’s legacy lived on through the memories he created and the indelible mark he left on Celtics history. In 1993, he was honored with the Curt Gowdy Media Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, solidifying his place among the greats in sports broadcasting.

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