Sam Jones, who won 10 NBA titles with the Boston Celtics, has died at the age of 88
Sam Jones, top scorer in cling Who won ten titles with the Boston Celtics during his dynasty in the late 1950s and 1960s, died at the age of 88.
Celtics spokesman Jeff Toys said Jones died Thursday night in Florida, where he was hospitalized due to ill health. The team planned a moment of silence before Friday’s game against the Phoenix Suns.
Inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984, Jones played all 12 seasons in the NBA with the Celtics. Paired with KC Jones in the backcourt, Jones was a shooting goalkeeper known for his speed, drive on court and one of the best bench picks in the game.
Jones was invisibly recruited by Red Auerbach in 1957 from Central North Carolina. The Celtics were knocking out the title, and Jones thought he had little chance of making up the lineup, with Bob Cozy and Bill Sharman make up a legendary Boston backcountry.
“I’ve 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 this honor…I never thought I’d be able to get into the game, let alone the squad.”
He averaged 4.6 points per game in the junior season, but Auerbach liked his speed, intelligence and focus on the team. When Sharman was sidelined due to injuries early in the 1960-61 season, Jones got his chance to start and become a regular on the championship teams.
Auerbach once said, “Sam was one of the greatest shooters of all time.” “But it was team oriented. All I wanted to do was win… Great athletes, they played out of pride.”
Jones was a five-time All-Star and finished his career with 15,411 points, averaging 17.7 points per game. He led the Celtics in scoring for three seasons, and when he retired, he held the franchise record for most points scored in a game at 51, a mark broken by Larry Bird. Jones’ 10 titles are the second most by any player after a teammate. Bill Russell (11).
Russell once said that if there was a shot at winning the game, he’d want Sam Jones to take it.
“I took a good shot,” Jones said, “I never thought about losing the ball. I thought about going into the basket.”
Jones honed his reputation by scoring decisive goals during the playoffs. In Game 7 of the 1962 Eastern Conference Finals against the Philadelphia Warriors, Jones hits a winning jump shot with two seconds left on his outstretched arms. Wilt Chamberlain. In the Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers that year, Jones scored five of the Celtics’ 10 extra points in Game 7 to help the team clinch their fourth consecutive title.
He retired from basketball in 1969 at the age of 36. In his last game, the Celtics beat the Lakers in Game Seven of the Finals, Jones scored 24 points.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.