Former Boston Celtic and Basketball Hall of Famer Sam Jones died December 30, 2021 in Florida after being hospitalized for what is being termed “failing health”. He was 88.
Known as “Mr. Clutch”, Jones helped the Celtics to a dynasty. Jones was on 10 NBA title winning teams.
In a statement released by the Celtics, they called Jones, “one of the most talented, versatile, and clutch shooters for the most successful and dominant teams in NBA history.” Adding, “his “His scoring ability was so prolific, and his form so pure, that he earned the simple nickname, ‘The Shooter’.”
The Celtics retired Jones’ number 24 jersey in 1969…while he was still an active player. Jones averaged 17.7 points per game over his 12 year career; and come post season time, that number went up to 18.9.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver spoke on Jones saying, Jones was, “one of the most prolific champions in all of professional sports.” Adding, “his selfless style, clutch performances and signature bank shot were hallmarks of an incredible career. Sam was a beloved teammate and respected competitor who played the game with dignity and class.
In 1964, amidst Jim Crowe lases and racial strife, Jones joined Bill Russell, Tom “Satch” Sanders, K.C. Jones, and Willie Naulls as the first starting lineup featuring all men of colour; despite an unwritten law requiring at least one white player in the lineup.
At the time of his retirement in 1969, Jones had led the Celtics in scoring five times, was a five time All Star, held eleven Celtic records, and was the only player in the franchise to score over 50 points in a single game. In 1984 he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. During his 12 year career, Jones had 15,411 points and an 80 percent success from the free throw line.
He was born Wilmington, North Carolina where he attended the HBCU North Carolina Central. He was drafted number eight in the first round of the 1957 NBA draft. Prior to becoming a professional basketball player, Jones spent two years in the United States Army.
No information about survivors was given.
feature photo credit: [[File:Sam Jones, Boston Celtics, 1969.jpg|Sam_Jones,_Boston_Celtics,_1969]]