- Johnny Most
:"For the American poet John Most see here."
John M. Most (
June 15, 1923– January 3, 1993) was an American sports announcer, known primarily as the raspy radiovoice of the Boston Celticsof the National Basketball Associationfrom 1953 to 1990.
He is most remembered for his excited call of "“Havlicek stole the ball!”" during the final moments of Game 7 of the 1965 NBA Eastern Conference Finals. The play sealed the victory for the
Boston Celtics. The complete call for that play was cquote|"Greer is putting the ball in play. He gets it out deep and Havlicek steals it!! Over to Sam Jones...Havlicek stole the ball!! It's all over… It's all over!!"
He was a legend to
Boston Celticsfans during the franchise's golden era from the 1950s through the 1980s. As identifiable a figure in New Englandas Bill Russell, Bob Cousyand Larry Bird, Celtics fans learned at an early age when watching the team play on televisionto turn the sound down on their television and pick up Most's radio broadcaston their local Celtics affiliate.
Early life and career
Jewish parents in New York City, New York, he was named after his paternal grandfather, the German-American Anarchistthinker Johann Most. [ [http://recollectionbooks.com/bleed/Encyclopedia/MostJohann.htm Johann Most Page, Bavarian-American anarchist; from the Daily Bleed's Anarchist Encyclopedia ] ] Johnny Most was one of the many successful graduates of DeWitt Clinton High Schoolin the Bronx. Most began his career in the 1940s as a protégé of Marty Glickman. He was hired in 1953 by Boston Celtics owner Walter Brown and coach Red Auerbachto replace Curt Gowdyas the team's radio play-by-play man on the Celtics Radio Network.
As an aerial gunner on a
B-24he flew 28 combat missions with the 15th Air Force in World War II, earning seven medals.
VE Day, as his unit broke camp in central Italy, Johnny wandered up a nearby hillside to a graveyard filled with American flags, his final visit to fallen comrades before returning home to the Bronx. A prolific poet, he penned these lines:
“I stood among the graves today and swept the scene with sight.
“And the corps of men who lay beneath looked up to say goodnight.
“The thunder still, the battle done, the fray has passed them by;
“and as they rest forever more, they must be asking, ‘Why?’ ”
Most always referred to his perch or radio booth at the
Boston Garden(the Celtics' arena) as "high above court-side" at the opening of his broadcasts.
Unlike his long-time contemporary,
Chick Hearn, who criticized his Los Angeles Lakerswhen he felt warranted, Most rarely criticized the Celtics during gameplay. But he was not shy about criticizing other teams' players. For example, during the 1985 season, he nicknamed Magic Johnson"Crybaby Johnson" after Johnson successfully challenged a referee's call. He called Magic this negative nickname throughout the remainder of the 1980s, announcing lines like "Cry with the no-look pass!" and "Crybaby with the rebound!" [http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-spw-glorydays27,1,3512579.story] He also nicknamed Washington Bulletsplayers Rick Mahornand Jeff Rulandas "McFilthy" and "McNasty", interchanging the two at his whim and was very critical of the Detroit Pistonsfor their physical play during the late 1980s.
Retirement, death and honors
October 10, 1990, Johnny Most announced his retirement due to health concerns. On December 3of that year, Most was honored with the permanent installation of his microphone at Boston Garden, silver-plated and encased in a Celtic-green frame. The microphone was attached to the façade of the vantage point that Most always described as "high above courtside." On January 3, 1993, Most died at the age of 69 of a heart attack in Hyannis, Massachusetts. He is buried in the Baker Street Jewish Cemeteries, West Roxbury, Massachusetts.
Shortly after his death, Johnny Most was awarded the prestigious
Curt Gowdy Media Awardby the Trustees of the Basketball Hall of Famefor his contribution to basketball. On October 4, 2002(almost ten years after his death), Most was inducted into the media category of the New England Basketball Hall of Fame at the University of Rhode Island.
Other well-known calls
Most is known for three other calls. As in the "Havlicek steals the ball!" call, these three were also in games played at the Boston Garden:
*Game 7 of the 1981 NBA Eastern Conference Finals, saw the Celtics tied with the
Philadelphia 76erslate in the 4th quarter, Darryl Dawkinsof the 76ers after being double teamed missed the shot, the Celics' Larry Birddrove the length of the court and...
cquote|"The shot off the glass is good!! Boston leads 91-89!"
But Philadelphia down 91-90 had one more chance to win the game when...
cquote|"Bobby Jones is gonna put the ball into play and the pass hits the top of the backboard and it's over! They won 3 in a row, they came from 3-1 down and they have won the series!!! It's all over!!!"
*Game 2 of the
1984 NBA Finals, had the Celtics trail the Los Angeles Lakers113-111 with 15 seconds remaining.
The Celtics forced overtime following the miscommunication between Johnson and Worthy, and eventually, won the game to tie the series at one. The Celtics won the title in 7. Gerald Henderson then commented:
cquote|"For a minute I could hear Johnny Most going, "Henderson steals the ball!""
His comments recall the
John Havliceksteal in 1965, whom Most is most associated with.
*Game 5 of the 1987 playoff series against the
Detroit Pistons, the series tied at 2-2
Detroit had a one-point lead late in the game and needed to inbound the ball to secure the victory and take a 3-2 Series lead with Game 6 on their court. (Then, as now, the conference finals followed a 2-2-1-1-1 format.)
Isiah Thomaswas inbounding the ball to Bill Laimbeer, who was in the backcourt. But...
cquote|"And......Now there's a steal by Bird! Underneath to DJ who lays it in!!...Right at one second left!! What a play by Bird! Bird stole the inbounding pass, laid it up to DJ, and DJ laid it up and in, and Boston has a one-point lead with one second left! OH, MY, THIS PLACE IS GOING CRAZY!!!"
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