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The Boston Celtics paid tribute to NBA legend Sam Jones on Friday afternoon. Jones passed away at 88 years old.
“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.’ … 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.”
Celtics, NBA honor legend Sam Jones
The NBA and Adam Silver also released a statement on Jones’ passing.
“Sam Jones will be remembered as one of the most prolific champions in all of professional sports,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “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.”
Jones was drafted by the great Red Auerbach out of North Carolina Central, which was a historically black college. At the time, Jones thought he had little chance of making the Celtics roster given their overwhelming success at the time.
“I 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 the honor. … I never thought I’d be able to break into the game, let alone the lineup,” Jones said.
While he struggled to get much playing time early, eventually Jones was a mainstay in Boston. The rest is history.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Jones family.