Sam Jones Biography
Sam Jones, the Boston Celtics guard who won 10 NBA titles alongside Bill Russell before being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, has died at age 88.
“I just heard from Aubre Jones that his father, Sam, passed away last night at 88,” John Feinstein, a Washington Post contributor who interviewed Jones for a recent book, tweeted Friday. ‘Sam was a GREAT NBA player (part of 10 Celtics champion teams) and an optimistic and enthusiastic person who played golf well into his 80s. He was a great help to me in “Raise your fist, get on your knees.” Sad day.’
Cause of Death
The cause of death has not been publicly disclosed, but a team spokesperson said he died of natural causes.
The Celtics will observe a moment of silence for Jones before Friday’s game against the visiting Philadelphia 76ers in Boston.
“If you look at the championships and what he did, obviously it’s a huge loss to the community here,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka told reporters Friday.
Jones, known as Mr. Clutch ‘for his teammates, is the third member of the Celtics dynasty to pass away in the past two years, following his backcourt partner, KC Jones (no relative), and Tom Heinsohn, both of whom died. in 2020.
Sam Jones Net Worth
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Bryna tweeted on Friday
“The Jones Boys are forever reunited,” KC’s daughter Bryna tweeted on Friday. Rest in heaven, Uncle Sam.
Born in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1933, 35 years before Michael Jordan’s family moved to the city, Sam Jones attended the Laurinburg Institute, a preparatory school founded at the request of civil rights hero Booker T. Washington.
Auerbach hadn’t even seen Jones play in college
He would go on to star at the little-known North Carolina College in Durham (now North Carolina Central) and was chosen by legendary Celtics coach Red Auerbach with the eighth pick in the 1957 draft on the recommendation of another coach.
In fact, Auerbach hadn’t even seen Jones play in college, usually a non-starter for the Hall of Fame coach.
Jones didn’t initially think he had a chance to break Auerbach’s rotation, which included 11 veterans at the time.
“I never felt so miserable in my life when I got the news,” Jones said at the time. I really thought it was the end of my basketball career. Sure, I was thrilled with the honor … I never thought I’d be able to get into the game, let alone the lineup. ‘
Fortunately for Jones, he was wrong.
With Russell running the middle as perhaps the greatest defensive player in NBA history, the Celtics’ offense needed, specifically shooting, and Jones seemed to fill that role easily.
Decades before the league embraced the 3-point shooting, Jones became one of the NBA’s best perimeter shooters, hitting 45.6 percent of his field goals and 80.3 percent of his free throws while averaging 17.7 percent. points per game throughout his career.
He was known to bench his perimeter attempts from the board, which is a skill that is now rare in today’s NBA.
“Well the banks are wide open in the sky this #NYE,” tweeted former Celtics forward and current radio host Cedric Maxwell, the MVP of the 1981 NBA Finals.
The Celtics had already won a title in 1957 before Jones’ arrival the following season, but the team achieved a record eight consecutive championships from 1959 to 1966 with the 6-foot-4 shooting guard as one of its key players.
Then, with Russell as the team’s player-coach, Boston would win two more titles in 1968 and 1969, the latter of which came in Jones’s final season with the team.
Jones, a five-time All-Star as a player, had a brief coaching career at his alma mater and later served as an assistant for the New Orleans Jazz in 1974-75, but never had the same success he had as a player.
He would go on to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984 and was recently included among the 75 players named to the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team.
Jones was fortunate enough to play for one of the most progressive organizations in professional sports in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Under Auerbach’s leadership, the Celtics became the first NBA team to draft. to a black player, Chuck Cooper, and the first to start a lineup of five African Americans, which included Sam and KC Jones, Russell, Tom ‘Satch’ Sanders, and Willie Naulls. in 1963.
Later, in 1966, Auerbach chose Russell as his successor, making him the first African-American coach in major U.S. team sports. (Russell also continued to play for the Celtics, who would win two more titles before the end of the decade)
But despite the Celtics’ progressive attitude toward race, the city of Boston and the NBA were less accommodating to black athletes at the time.
In a November article for The Associated Press, Jones recalled that the NBA landscape in the 1960s was only marginally different from what he had experienced growing up in the segregated southern United States.
“There was a quota for blacks when I came in 1957. There were only two players on each team who were African-American,” Jones recalled.
The 1960s were the decade when Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points, the Celtics-Lakers rivalry took off, and the NBA’s second dynasty reigned on the hardwood court of the Boston Garden.
It was also a time of struggle and crisis across America
It was also a time of struggle and crisis across America when the country was forever altered on a ‘Bloody Sunday’, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of his dream and black athletes raised their fists and voices with the hope of sustaining America. to his creed.
In its infancy, just 10 years earlier, the NBA took its first significant steps in the 1960s, moving from the little league that could barely turn heads, to establishing the framework in which it still stands today: a place where athletes can be more than entertainment, and use their influential platform to effect change.
George Mikan and the Lakers’ championship streak of the 1950s had generated some interest in the NBA. Boston then followed up with eight straight titles, part of the 11 in 13 years won by Hall of Famer Bill Russell, the kind of on-court dominance the young league had never seen before.
Sam Jones Quick and Facts
Sam Jones, the sharp-shooting Boston Celtics guard who won 10 NBA titles alongside Bill Russell, has died from natural causes at age 88
The Celtics will hold a moment of silence before Friday’s game in Boston
Jones is the third member of the Celtics’ dynasty to pass away in the last two years, following his backcourt partner, KC Jones (no relation), and Tom Heinsohn
A star at little-known North Carolina College in Durham, Jones was the eighth pick of the 1957 NBA Draft and went on to be named to five All-Star teams
Jones also was named to the NBA’s 50th and 75th Anniversary Teams