Celtics Champion Chris Ford Dies at 74 – The Associated Press – en Español

Celtics Champion Chris Ford Dies at 74 – The Associated Press – en Español

Chris Ford, a member of the Boston Celtics 1981 Championship team, a longtime NBA coach and the player credited with the league’s first 3-point basket, has died, his family said in a statement Wednesday. He was 74.

The family revealed the death at the hands of the Celtics. No official reason was given, but the statement said Ford died on Tuesday. The Atlantic City press reported that he died in Philadelphia earlier this month after suffering a heart attack.

“Chris was loved by his family, friends and teammates. He had a great love for his family, the city of Boston, the fans and the entire Celtics family,” the family statement read. “He always showed humility and respect for all who were fortunate enough to be a part of his life.”

Ford was named the team’s MVP in his first season with Boston. He retired after the 1981–82 season and was an assistant coach with the Celtics for seven seasons from 1983–90, where he helped former teammates Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish win two titles in 1984 and 1986 while he served under coach KC Jones.

He is one of four former Celtics to have won championships as both a player and coach, along with Bill Russell, Tom Heinsohn and Jones.

“As a player and coach, Chris Ford’s career spanned more than a decade of Celtics basketball, and he’s made a name for himself at every turn,” the Celtics said in a statement. “’Doc’, as he was affectionately known to his teammates, was a fundamentally versatile all-around guard. … The Boston Celtics offer their deepest condolences to the Ford family and their many friends.”

Born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Ford played a Villanova who advanced to the 1970 NCAA Elite Eight and 1971 Final Four. He averaged 1,433 points in three seasons for the Wildcats, still the school’s season record with his 238 assists in 1970-71.

Former Villanova manager Jay Wright posted a photo von Ford in his Wildcats uniform on Twitter, calling him his “childhood idol.”

“A creative, talented, tough (Villanova) Guardian,” reads the post. “He was more of an idol when I knew him as a great man, loyal friend and passionate (Villanova) alumni. Chris is loved by the VU community. I will miss our conversations.”

Ford was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in 1972. He spent six seasons there before being traded to the Celtics. In his freshman season in Boston in 1978-79, he averaged a career-high 15.6 points and 4.7 assists per game. He opened the following season on October 12, 1979 by sinking the first 3-point shot in NBA history in the first quarter of Boston’s victory over the Houston Rockets.

Ford succeeded Jimmy Rodgers as Celtics coach and managed the team for five seasons from 1990-91 to 1994-95.

He posted a 222-188 record with four playoff appearances as Boston head coach, but his teams never advanced past the conference finals.

Ford also spent two years as a head coach with the Milwaukee Bucks (1996-98) and the Los Angeles Clippers (1998-2000). He began the 2003-04 season as an assistant for the Philadelphia 76ers and coached the last 30 games of that season after Randy Ayers was fired.

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