Chris Ford – the man credited with scoring the first NBA 3-pointer in league history – has died at 74. The official cause of death is heart failure, according to National Sportswriters Hall of Famer Dick Weiss, while other reports claim Ford suffered a heart attack earlier this month. 

‘Chris was beloved by his family, friends, and teammates,’ his family said in a statement. ‘He had a great love for his family, the city of Boston, the fans, and the entire Celtics family. 

‘He always showed humility and respect for all those that were fortunate enough to be a part of his life.’ 

Ford’s decorated career included three titles with the Boston Celtics – one as a player and another two as an assistant coach under KC Jones. He also served as a head coach for 10 NBA seasons. 

Chris Ford – the man credited with scoring the first NBA 3-pointer in league history – has died at 74. The New Jersey native played 10 NBA seasons and coached for another decade

Assistant Coach Chris Ford celebrates during a parade after winning the championship against the Houston Rockets circa 1986 at the Boston Garden

Assistant Coach Chris Ford celebrates during a parade after winning the championship against the Houston Rockets circa 1986 at the Boston Garden

The family revealed the death through the Celtics on Wednesday. No official cause was given, but the statement said Ford passed away on Tuesday. The Press of Atlantic City reported he died in Philadelphia having suffered a heart attack earlier in the month.

‘Chris was beloved 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 said. ‘He always showed humility and respect for all those that were fortunate enough to be a part of his life.’

Ford was voted the team’s MVP in his first season with Boston. He retired following the 1981-82 season and was an assistant coach for the Celtics for seven seasons from 1983 to 1990, helping coach former teammates Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish to two titles in 1984 and 1986 while serving under coach K.C. Jones.

He is one of four former Celtics to have won championships as both a player and coach, joining Bill Russell, Tom Heinsohn and Jones, all of whom have passed away within the last three years. 

Ford spent six seasons there before being traded to the Celtics. He averaged a career-high 15.6 points and 4.7 assists per game his first season in Boston in 1978-79. He opened the following season on Oct. 12, 1979, by sinking the first 3-point shot in NBA history in the first quarter of Boston's win over the Houston Rockets

Born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Ford was drafted out of Villanova by the Detroit Pistons in 1972

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

Ford (left) was voted the team's MVP in his first season with Boston. He retired following the 1981-82 season and was an assistant coach for the Celtics for seven seasons from 1983 to 1990, helping coach former teammates Larry Bird (right), Kevin McHale and Robert Parish to two titles in 1984 and 1986 while serving under coach K.C. Jones

Ford (left) was voted the team’s MVP in his first season with Boston. He retired following the 1981-82 season and was an assistant coach for the Celtics for seven seasons from 1983 to 1990, helping coach former teammates Larry Bird (right), Kevin McHale and Robert Parish to two titles in 1984 and 1986 while serving under coach K.C. Jones

Ford makes a move against the San Antonio Spurs during a game played in 1979

Ford makes a move against the San Antonio Spurs during a game played in 1979

‘As a player and coach, Chris Ford’s career spanned over a decade of Celtics basketball, and he made his mark every step of the way,’ the Celtics said in a statement. ‘Doc,’ as he was affectionately known by his teammates, was a fundamentally versatile all-around guard. … The Boston Celtics sends their deepest sympathies to the Ford family and their many friends.’

Born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Ford was drafted out of Villanova by the Detroit Pistons in 1972. He spent six seasons there before being traded to the Celtics. He averaged a career-high 15.6 points and 4.7 assists per game his first season in Boston in 1978-79. 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 win over the Houston Rockets.

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

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

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

‘Sad to hear of the passing of Chris Ford,’ tweeted former 76ers and Nets GM Billy King. ‘He was a dedicated family man with high character. I always respected his opinion and enjoyed talking basketball and life with him. He was a special person. My condolences to his wife Kathy, and his entire family and friends. R.I.P. Chris.’

‘So many are referring to Chris Ford first as a former Celtic great,’ tweeted Connecticut public radio host John Henry Smith. ‘But some of my earliest sports memories are of #42 knocking down 2 point shots from today’s 3 point range for the Pistons at the old Cobo Hall. He’s one of the guys that made me a sports fan.’

The 1980-81 NBA Champion Boston Celtics pose for a team portrait at the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Front row (left to right): Chris Ford, Cedric Maxwell, President and General Manager Red Auerbach, Coach Bill Fitch, Chairman of the Board Harry T. Mangurian Jr., Larry Bird, Nate Archibald. Back row: Assistant coach K.C. Jones, Wayne Kreklow, M.L. Carr, Rick Robey, Robert Parish, Kevin McHale, Eric Fernsten, Gerald Henderson, assistant coach Jimmy Rodgers and Trainer Ray Melchiorre

The 1980-81 NBA Champion Boston Celtics pose for a team portrait at the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Front row (left to right): Chris Ford, Cedric Maxwell, President and General Manager Red Auerbach, Coach Bill Fitch, Chairman of the Board Harry T. Mangurian Jr., Larry Bird, Nate Archibald. Back row: Assistant coach K.C. Jones, Wayne Kreklow, M.L. Carr, Rick Robey, Robert Parish, Kevin McHale, Eric Fernsten, Gerald Henderson, assistant coach Jimmy Rodgers and Trainer Ray Melchiorre





Source link