Chris Ford, former Celtics player and coach who made the first three-point field goal in NBA history, died on Tuesday. He was 74 years old.
Ford’s family put out a statement earlier today confirming his death, saying he had great appreciation for his family, Boston, and the Celtics organization and fans. The cause of death is currently unknown.
Ford’s career in Boston began in 1978 after he was acquired from the Detroit Pistons. He played in Boston for four years, and was the starting shooting guard on the 1981 Championship team which defeated the Houston Rockets. He enjoyed a 10-year playing career in Detroit and Boston, averaging 9.2 points, 3.4 assists, and 1.6 steals per game.
Following his playing career, Ford remained in the organization as a member of the coaching staff. After winning two more championships as an assistant in 1984 and 1986, Ford was promoted to head coach in 1990, and manned the team for five years before moving on to coach the Bucks, Clippers, and 76ers.
Statement from the Ford Family:
“The Ford family is sad to announce the passing of Chris on January 17, 2023. 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. He always showed humility and respect for all those that were fortunate enough to be a part of his life.”
Statement from the Boston Celtics:
“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. 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. ‘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.”