“Chris Ford, a legendary figure in the Boston Celtics community, passed away at the age of 74. Ford was a member of the team’s 1981 championship team and was credited with scoring the league’s first-ever 3-point basket.
He also served as a coach for the team. He passed away on Tuesday, as per his family’s statement released by the Celtics. The cause of death was reported as a heart attack earlier this month.”
“Chris was highly regarded by his loved ones, associates, and teammates. He had a deep affection for his family, Boston, the supporters and the entire Celtics community,” the family statement read. “He consistently displayed humility and respect towards everyone he had the privilege of interacting with.”
Ford earned the title of team MVP in his debut season with the Boston. He called it quits after the 1981-82 season, and later served as an assistant coach for the Celtics for 7 seasons from 1983 to 1990. During this time he assisted coach K.C. Jones in leading former teammates Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish to two championship wins in 1984 and 1986.
Ford is one of four ex-Celtics to have achieved championships as both a player and a coach, alongside Bill Russell, Tom Heinsohn and K.C Jones.
Chris Ford’s tenure as a player and coach with the Boston Celtics spanned over a decade, during which he left a lasting impact. Known affectionately as ‘Doc’ by his teammates, Ford was a well-rounded and versatile guard. Our deepest condolences go out to the Ford family and their friends.
Ford, a native of Atlantic City, New Jersey, shone at Villanova, reaching the Elite Eight in 1970 and the Final Four in 1971. He recorded 1,433 points in three seasons with the Wildcats, and his 238 assists in 1970-71 still hold the school’s single-season record.
Jay Wright, former coach of Villanova, shared a photo of Ford in his Wildcat’s uniform on Twitter, referring to him as his “boyhood idol.
“A creative, gifted tough (Villanova) guard,” the post said. “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 talks.”
Ford was selected by the Detroit Pistons during the 1972 draft. He played for the Pistons for six seasons before being traded to the Boston Celtics. He recorded a career-high 15.6 points and 4.7 assists per game in his first season with the Celtics in 1978-79. He also made history by scoring the first 3-pointer in NBA history during the first quarter of a game against the Houston Rockets on October 12, 1979.
Ford took over as head coach of the Celtics from Jimmy Rodgers, leading the team for five seasons from 1990-91 to 1994-95. He achieved a record of 222-188 with four playoff appearances, but his teams never advanced beyond the conference finals.
Ford also had 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 coach for the Philadelphia 76ers, and later took over as head coach for the final 30 games of the season, after Randy Ayers was fired.
Chris Ford, member of Pistons’ Top 50 who made NBA’s first 3, dies at 74 https://t.co/92NoVZ9vao
— The Detroit News (@detroitnews) January 19, 2023