Chris Ford, NBA Champion Player and Coach, Dead at 74

Chris Ford a former NBA player and coach who won a total of three championships died on Tuesday, his family announced. He was 74 years old. The cause of death was not officially announced, but according to The Press of Atlantic City, 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 was selected by the Detroit Pistons in the second round of the 1972 NBA Draft and was with the team until the end of the 1977-78 season. He was then traded to the Celtics in October 1978 and helped the team win the championship in 1981. Following the 1981-82 season, Ford became an assistant coach for the Celtics and helped the team win championships in 1984 and 1986.

He became the head coach in 1990 and led the Celtics to the playoffs four times in five seasons. Ford was also the head coach for the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers on an interim basis in 2004. In his head coach career, Ford posted a 323-276 record. 

"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. "He was a member of three NBA World Championship Boston Celtics teams, one as a key player on the 1981 Champions, and subsequently as an assistant coach for the 1984 and 1986 champs. Ford went on to become the team's eleventh head coach, leading his former teammates Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish to multiple playoff appearances in the trio's final days together. 

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"'Doc,' as he was affectionately known by his teammates, was a fundamentally versatile all-around guard. He was voted the team's MVP in his first season with the Celtics, and he is famously credited with scoring the NBA's first three-point basket. Ford joined an elite group of Celtics' personnel (Bill Russell, Tom Heinsohn, and K.C. Jones) who have earned championship rings as both a player and coach with the organization. The Boston Celtics sends their deepest sympathies to the Ford family and their many friends."