Hall of Famer Won at Every Level

K.C. Jones teamed with Bill Russell for NCAA and NBA titles, as well as Olympic gold
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 25, 2020 4:10 PM CST
Hall of Famer Won at Every Level
Former teammates Bill Russell, left, and KC Jones greet each other in Boston in 1988.   (AP Photo/Mike Kullen, File)

Basketball Hall of Famer KC Jones, a 12-time NBA champion who was one of only seven players in history to win championships in college and the pros along with an Olympic gold medal, has died. He was 88. The Celtics said Jones' family confirmed Friday that he died at an assistant living facility in Connecticut, where he had been receiving care for Alzheimer's disease, the AP reports. "KC Jones was among the most decorated champions in the history of our game," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement, per CNN. A point guard who excelled on defense, Jones joined with Bill Russell to lead San Francisco to back-to-back NCAA championships in 1955-56. The two also played on the US team that won the Olympic gold medal at the 1956 Games in Melbourne. They reunited in Boston to win eight straight NBA titles from 1959 to 1966.

Jones retired in 1967 and began coaching, first in college at Brandeis and Harvard before joining the Los Angeles Lakers as an assistant, where he earned another championship ring in 1972. Jones was an assistant coach on the Celtics team that won it all in 1981 before guiding the team led by Larry Bird to the 1984 and '86 championships. Jones’ No. 25 was retired by the Celtics in 1967, and he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1989. Only Russell and fellow Celtics teammate Sam Jones won more NBA championships as players. "Where KC Jones went, winning was sure to follow,” the Celtics said in a statement Friday. Russell posted what he said was the last photo taken of the former teammates and roommates on Twitter, adding, "Friends for life."

(More obituary stories.)

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