Former NBA champion player and coach Chris Ford, who rose to prominence during his time with the Boston Celtics, has died at the age of 74, his family announced.
According to the family, Ford died Tuesday. His family released a statement that reflected on Ford’s appreciation for the Celtics and the Boston community.
“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 played for the Celtics from 1978-1982 and won a title with the team in 1981.
“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.”
After he retired, he transitioned to coaching and worked as Boston’s assistant coach for seven seasons. He helped guide the Celtics to championships in 1984 and 1986 during his time as an assistant coach under coach K.C. Jones.
In 1990, he was named the Celtics head coach, a position he held until 1995.
Three other former Celtics players won championships as a player and a coach — Bill Russell, Tom Heinsohn and Jones.
Ford played college basketball at Villanova and was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in 1972.
After six seasons, the Pistons traded Ford to Boston. He averaged a career-high 15.6 points and 4.7 assists per game his first season with the Celtics in 1978-79.
He opened the following season on Oct. 12, 1979, by making the first 3-point shot in NBA history in a game against the Houston Rockets.
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 had a pair of two-year head-coaching stints with the Bucks from 1996-98 and the Clippers from 1998-2000. He also served as an interim head coach for the 76ers during the 2003-04 season.
Ford’s cause of death was not immediately known.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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