The Press Box for May 8
The Sports world recently lost a legend among legends. Ohio Valley native and Boston Celtic great John Havlicek passed on at the age of 79. I will never forget watching the Celtic games as Havlicek performed his magic, it seemed as though something great was always going to happen when he was on the floor. When he called it quits in 1978, I thought it was the end for Boston but then along came a taller version of Havlicek in the great Larry Bird and Boston basketball once again was the center of attention. Oh, those great Celtic and Laker games nothing will ever compare.
My Mother grew up in the Martins Ferry area and also lived in Bridgeport and Lansing. She used to tell me about John Havlicek. Mom said she lived down the road from his home and often saw him walking with a football or basketball when he was around seven or eight years old. She used to call him Johnny, when I was watching him on TV. I never really thought much about it at the time, he was Havlicek to me, but she really did know him. She was 10 years older than him. She would come to my house in the seventies on Sunday’s and if a Celtic game was on, she’d always say “you watchin, little Johhny.”
In 1973 I went to work in the coal industry, a lot of good athletes were working in the mines at the time and during the summer we would hire college help. One of the guys I remember was Bellaire’s Lance Meihl a great football player for Penn State and later NFL great. Dick Reasbeck a former Ohio State basketball player came to work at Quarto Mining Co. Dick sure had some good tales to tell. His story was about playing on the Ohio State national championship team in 1960 with Havlicek and Jerry Lucas. It also included his roommate Bobby Knight the great Indiana coach. I didn’t know whether to believe him or not but I soon found out he was telling the truth, when I got a chance to watch him play in a Class A basketball tournament in Wheeling. Reasbeck was playing for a team from Bellaire, Ohio (The Red and Green Athletic Club). I was called by Bobby Lucas from Moundsville who played high school ball with WVU great Bob Hummel.
Lucas said his team, the Castle Club, needed another guard, I had played several times with Lucas in an outdoor league, so I got my stuff together and headed to the Press Club in Moundsville where we all met up with P.I. Drake owner of the team. PI always put together a very good team and treated his players real well with an after game steak dinner.
Reasbeck and his team won the tournament and he put on a show himself with 32 points. I believe he even had a brother on the team, but they were full of great players including Alan Hornyak from Bellaire St. Johns, same place Reasbeck played high school ball.
Havlicek, a 13-time NBA All-Star, 16 seasons in the NBA all with the Celtics, 8 NBA championships and 1974 NBA Finals MVP. A local legend who once roamed the floors and fields of Belmont County to later become one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history, with 26,395 NBA points as a Celtic, and still their all-time leader in scoring has left for a better place. I hope mom once again see’s little Johnny, she’ll immediately think of me watching those Boston Celtic games.
My top five performances for May 8, are 1. Paden City’s EJ Weber who qualifyed for the OVAC Track finals with a shot put of 43-03.50 and won the event on Saturday in the championships with a toss of 44-10.75. 2. Abbe Stacpole winning the 200 meter dash at the OVAC track meet. 3. Spencer Corley winning the LKC high jump. 4.Tyler Consolidated’s Allie Miller’s home run shot off the top of the scoreboard in the sectionals. 5.Madison Devaughn’s home run shot over the fence in the sectionals against Paden City. firstname.lastname@example.org