1960s Celtics marksmanship star Sam Jones dies at 88

Sam Jones, the Boston Celtics Hall of Fame goalie who played on 10 NBA championship teams, a milestone only passed by teammate Bill Russ...


Sam Jones, the Boston Celtics Hall of Fame goalie who played on 10 NBA championship teams, a milestone only passed by teammate Bill Russell, died Thursday in Florida. He was 88 years old.

His death was announced by a Celtics spokesperson, who did not specify a cause but said Jones was in poor health. He also didn’t say where in Florida he died, but Jones lived in the Orlando area.

When Jones was selected by the Celtics from Black North Carolina College in Durham (now North Carolina Central University) in the first round of the 1957 draft – he was the eighth player overall – he was more astonished and worried than thrilled. Since black college players had little national notoriety at the time, he saw himself as a potential trailblazer, even though he questioned his chances of forming a star-studded Celtics squad.

“I was put under a lot of pressure,” Jones told the Boston Globe in 2009. “We didn’t have Boy Scouts coming over to see what the black colleges were doing. If I am successful they will start looking at black colleges.

Despite his doubts, Jones quickly impressed coach Red Auerbach. He then teamed up with KC Jones (no report), a tenacious defender, in a long distance duo which finally replaced that of Bob cousy and Bill sharman, two of the greatest NBA players of the 1950s. The Joneses were part of a record-breaking run alongside Russel, who transformed the central position with his rebounds and defense, forwards Tom heinsohn, John Havlicek and Satch sanders, and Cousy and Sharman in their final seasons.

Sam Jones played on Celtics teams which won eight consecutive NBA Championships (1959 to 1966) and two more in 1968 and 1969. Five times All-Star, he was called Mr. Clutch for the many baskets he has. scored in the closing seconds of playoff games. His total of 10 championship rings was only surpassed by Russell’s 11.

Jones was elected to Basketball hall of fame in Springfield, Mass., in 1984 and was named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history when the league celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1996. He previously held the Celtics’ goal scoring record, with 51 points against the Detroit Pistons in October 1965. When he retired after 12 seasons, he was the team’s career leading scorer, with 15,411 points. Larry Bird and Jayson Tatum are the current one-game record holders, with 60 points, and Havlicek holds the career goalscoring record, at 26,395.

Jones was renowned for using the backboard when most players shot straight at the hoop.

“Sam showed them how to use the bank shot,” Auerbach told United Press International. “He made it popular, and he made an art of it.”

Jones had supreme confidence in this shot. As he said, “I felt like it was like doing a layup.”

Samuel Jones was born June 24, 1933 in Wilmington, North Carolina, to North Carolina College, playing for Hall of Fame coach. John B. McLendon in a Division II program, he was an excellent shooter, scoring 1,170 points and an outstanding rebounder.

Auerbach had never seen Jones play in college. But he drafted him when Bones McKinney, a North Carolinian and one of Auerbach’s former players, praised him. Jones had planned to become a teacher but tried his luck at Celtics training camp.

He was a reservist for several seasons before taking over from Sharman. Although he was 6ft 4in tall, tall for a guard at the time, he was faster than many small guards.

When he saw Russell about to catch an offensive rebound, Jones would step away from the defending man, who was looking at the ball, and preparing to intercept a pass from Russell and convert it into a bank shot. . As he told NBA.com, “You only need a second to shoot.”

Jones retired from the Celtics in 1969 and went on to serve as a head coach at Federal City College in Washington (now the University of the District of Columbia) and North Carolina Central. He was an assistant coach of the New Orleans Jazz of the NBA.

Jones and his wife, Gladys Chavis Jones, who died in 2018, have five children. Information on the survivors was not immediately available.

Jones averaged 17.7 points per game in the regular season for the Celtics, but was particularly dangerous in the playoffs. He hit a jump shot over the Philadelphia Warriors’ Wilt Chamberlain in the dying seconds of Game 7 of the 1962 East Division Playoff Finals, giving Boston a 109-107 victory. He tallied five of the Celtics’ 10 points in overtime against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 7 of the League Finals, helping propel Boston to a fourth straight championship.

Jones liked to make the most of the 7-foot-1 Chamberlain.

“I never challenged him by trying to run over him – he was just blocking your shot,” he told Terry Pluto for the NBA’s “Tall Tales” oral history (1992). “I would stop in front of him and shoot him. Then I spoke to him. I spoke to everyone on the pitch, but it was great fun saying things to Wilt because he was reacting to them.

In a fight-filled fourth quarter of Game 5 of this Celtics-Warriors series, Jones collided with Chamberlain, who took him away by nearly 50 pounds, and they traded annoyances. When Chamberlain grabbed Jones’ wrist – possibly in a gesture of peace – Jones ran off the pitch.

“He saw Wilt always coming after him, so Sam grabbed one of the photographers’ chairs and held it out towards Wilt like Sam was a lion tamer,” the referee said. Norm drucker reminded Mr. Pluto.

“He was about to step into the stands – he didn’t want to fight,” said Chamberlain, the strongest man in professional basketball. “So I said, ‘Ah, forget that’. “

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Newsrust - US Top News: 1960s Celtics marksmanship star Sam Jones dies at 88
1960s Celtics marksmanship star Sam Jones dies at 88
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