BOSTON (CBS) — Boston Celtics legend Sam Jones has passed away at the age of 88.
Jones won 10 NBA championships with the Celtics from 1959-1969, earning five All-Star selections during his 13-year career. His No. 24 hangs in the rafters at the Garden, and Jones was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984. He’s also been named to the NBA 25th Anniversary Team, 50th Anniversary Team, and 75th Anniversary Team.
“Sam Jones was one of the most talented, versatile, and clutch shooters for the most successful and dominant teams in NBA history,” the Celtics said in a statement. “His scoring ability was so prolific, and his form so pure, that he earned the simple nickname, ‘The Shooter.’ He was also known as ‘Mr. Clutch.’ One of the many testaments to his clutch performances is the fact that his playoff scoring average (18.9) exceeded his regular season output (17.7). … The Jones family is in our thoughts as we mourn his loss and fondly remember the life and career of one of the greatest champions in American sports.”
Another one of my dear friends lost. Well, the banks are open in heaven this #NYE.
RIP to fellow NC native, a legendary player, a 10x champion w our @Celtics, and a wonderful person.
— Cedric Maxwell (@cedricmaxwell81) December 31, 2021
Sam Jones’ 10 NBA championships are second-most by any player in NBA history, behind only his former teammate, Bill Russell, who won 11.
“Sam Jones will be remembered as one of the most prolific champions in all of professional sports,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said. “His selfless style, clutch performances and signature bank shot were hallmarks of an incredible career that featured 10 NBA championships in 12 seasons with the Boston Celtics. An HBCU legend at North Carolina Central University and a member of the NBA’s 25th, 50th, and 75th Anniversary Teams, Sam was a beloved teammate and respected competitor who played the game with dignity and class. We mourn the passing of a basketball giant and send our deepest condolences to Sam’s family and the Celtics organization.”
Jones was the eighth overall pick by Red Auerbach in 1956, selected out of North Carolina Central. Jones opted to try to make the Celtics’ roster instead of accepting a job to teach high school, a decision that paid dividends for himself and the Celtics organization.