Sam Jones, Celtics Legend and Basketball Hall of Famer, Dies at Age 88

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVDecember 31, 2021

FILE - Boston's Sam Jones, left, drives past the Lakers' Jerry West (44) and drives along the baseline towards the basket in the teams' NBA playoff game in Los Angeles on May 2, 1968. At right are Darrall Imhoff of Lakers, who blocked the shot, and Celtics' Bill Russell. Basketball Hall of Famer Jones, the skilled scorer whose 10 NBA titles is second only to teammate Bill Russell, died on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021, the team said. He was 88. (AP Photo/HF, File)
AP Photo/HF, File

Hall of Fame Boston Celtics guard Sam Jones died Thursday.

He was 88.

The Celtics said Jones was hospitalized for weeks in Florida with his health declining.

"Sam Jones was one of the most talented, versatile, and clutch shooters for the most successful and dominant teams in NBA history. ... 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," the Celtics said in a statement.

Jones won 10 NBA championships and made five NBA All-Star teams over the course of his 12-year career with the Celtics from 1957 to 1969. Only teammate Bill Russell has won more championships during his NBA career.

Jones has been named on all three of the NBA's anniversary teams (25th, 50th and 75th), with the most recent coming earlier this year. The Celtics retired his No. 24 in 1969, and he was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement: 

"Sam Jones will be remembered as one of the most prolific champions in all of professional sports. 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."

After his retirement, Jones coached at Federal City College and North Carolina Central University before a brief stint as an assistant with the New Orleans Jazz. He spent much of his post-playing career giving back to the community, serving as a substitute teacher in Maryland.