John “Hondo” Havlicek averaged more than 40 minutes a game for more than a decade with the Boston Celtics. Not a flashy player, Havlicek made his living by running less-conditioned opponents into the hardwood floor. Impeccable skills at the forward and guard positions, combined with his amazing stamina, made Havlicek one of the best all-around basketball players of all time. He led the Celtics to eight World Championships during the 60s—one of the most impressive dynasties in the history of sports—while racking up 26,395 points, 6,114 assists and 13 consecutive All-Star Game appearances.
Havlicek’s superior physical fitness can be traced back to the dangerous curves of Martins Ferry, Ohio—a steel town near the West Virginia border where his Czechoslovakian father and Croatian mother made home. Because of its treacherous, winding roads, the five-year-old future hall-of-famer was not allowed to ride a bike. As a result, Havlicek began running alongside his friends while they rode theirs. Soon he was in amazing shape and in love with the activity. Before long, he was running everywhere and dominating organized sports. By the time the ultra-fit hoopster graduated from high school, he had been offered a combined 35 scholarships in football and basketball.