Holy Spirit Alum, Former NBA Player and Coach Chris Ford has Died at 74
A local legend has died.
Chris Ford, the first player in NBA history to ever hit a 3-point shot, has passed away after suffering a heart attack earlier this month.
His birthday was Jan. 11 when he turned 74.
"The Ford family is sad to announce the passing of Chris on January 17, 2023," the family said in a statement. "
"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."
Ford, who grew up in Atlantic City, went to Holy Spirit, and lived in Margate, was a former Villanova Wildcat, who played in the NBA, winning an NBA title with the Boston Celtics in 1981.
We went on to coach four NBA teams, Boston, Milwaukee, LA Clippers and was an interim coach for the Philadelphia Sixers.
He started at Holy Spirit high school, where he averaged 33 points as a senior, and finished with 1,507 career points for the Spartans.
From Holy Spirit high school:
It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Holy Spirit High School legend and Hall of Fame member, Chris Ford, Class of 1968. We ask that you join us in keeping the Ford family and friends in our prayers during this difficult time.
He went on to play at Villanova for the Wildcats, where he averaged of 15.8 points and six rebounds per game, helping the Wildcats make three straight NCAA Tournament appearances, including a trip to the 1971 Final Four.
He was drafted in the second round of the 1972 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons, playing there for four seasons, before being traded to Boston in October 1978.
In Boston, he averaged a career-high with 15.6 points per game during the 1978-79 season and was a member of the Celtics' 1981 championship team.
At the conclusion of his playing career, Ford got into coaching. He started as an assistant with the Celtics, winning titles in 1984 and 1986. He became the head coach of the Celtics in 1990 and stayed there til the 94-55 season. He coached Milwaukee, the LA Clippers, and Sixers before finally stepping away from the NBA after the 2004 season.
After his playing days, he returned to his home, living in Margate, and often you would see him around town, having a drink at Maynard's, grabbing a sub at Dino's, or attending a local high school basketball game.
I just saw Ford on Saturday, Jan 7 over at Holy Spirit the Seagull Classic, watching his grandson, CJ, play in a game for Egg Harbor Twp.
One week later, on Jan. 13, Ford's grandson played in a game against his grandfather's former school at Holy Spirit. With his grandfather in the hospital, CJ Ford changed his jersey number to No. 42 to honor his grandfather when something special happened.
CJ Ford, hit a 3-pointer to score EHT’s 42nd point of the JV game and during the varsity game, made two free throws which was EHT’s 42nd point.
Chris Ford will be missed, but he gave us so many great memories and was such a great man, father, grandfather, husband, and more.