Today the Celtics are in mourning as they remember Hall of Famer and NBA Champion K.C Jones. Jones was an intricate part of the Celtics run of championships as he played from 1958-67. His hard nosed style and finesse made him a powerhouse as a point guard.
The Celtics family mourns the loss of twelve-time NBA champion, two-time NCAA champion, Gold medal-winning Olympian and Hall of Famer, K.C. Jones, as we celebrate his remarkable career and life.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) December 25, 2020
Jones was Born in 1932 in Taylor, Texas. He would then move to California where he would play for Commerce High School in San Francisco where he played basketball and football. Jones went on to college and played basketball for the University of San Francisco. It’s there that he and Bill Russell would lead the Dons to two NCAA Championships. This wasn’t the only time both Jones and Russell played together. Before joining the Celtics, they also played on the United States team, winning the gold in 1956.
As high profile an athlete as Jones was, when he got to the NBA Jones was still interested in playing football. Jones tried out for a NFL team, however did not make the cut. He stuck with basketball. And for 9 seasons under the Celtics, Jones won 8 of his 12 championships. Not too bad for a player, especially nowadays to make that claim.
Jones is also one of 8 players to make an amazing feat in basketball history. He joins Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Jerry Lucas, Clyde Lovellette, Quinn Buckner, and Anthony Davis as they only players to win a NCAA, and NBA championship, along with a Olympic gold medal. Russell and teammate Sam Jones are the only two men to have more championships than Jones. Thats a pretty damn good career!
After The Playing Days
After capturing 8 championships in his 9 seasons in the NBA (all with the Celtics), Jones retired following the 1967 season where the Celtics lost to the 76ers. However Jones didn’t leave the sport. From 1967-70 Jones became the head coach of Brandeis University. Jones would then head to Harvard University and become their assistant coach from 1970-71. Coming into the 1971 NBA season, Jones would join former Celtics teammate Bill Sharman as his assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers. With their only season, they went on to win 33 straight games, and the NBA championship.
On August 8th 1972 Jones became the first ever coach of the San Diego Conquistadors of the American Basketball Association. Not even a week after the season ended, Jones moved on and became the head coach for the Capital Bullets in 1973. As the team changed their name to Washington Bullets, Jones showed the name can make a difference. During his 3 years there, he lead the team to a 155-91 win/loss record.
In 1981, Jones would return to Boston as the assistant coach, and in 1983 take the reins as head coach. Jones would capture 3 more titles with the Celtics, one in 1981, one in 1984 and again in 1986. Out of the 5 seasons as head coach he would make the Finals 4 times. Jones would also lead the Eastern All Star team in 1986 beating the Western team 139-132. He would retire from coaching after the 1987-88 season, and would take a front office job with the Celtics from 88-89.
Jones would do more coaching after his retirement from the Celtics. He was the assistant coach/basketball consultant for the Seattle Supersonics for the 1989-90 season until taking over as head coach from 1990-92. In 1994, Jones joined former teammate Don Chaney as his assistant for the Detroit Pistons for one season. The Celtics would try and get Jones as their coach for the 1995 season, but would take the assistant coach position for the 1996 season instead.
With the American Basketball League only lasting from 1996-1998, Jones would take on the coaching duties for the New England Blizzard in 1997. The Blizzard made the playoffs in the second year however losing to the San Jose Lasers.
Aside from being a member of the Boston Celtic family, Jones is a two time NCAA champion winner, 8 time NBA championship winner (as a player), 4 time NBA Championship winner (2 as assistant coach, 2 as actual coach), and an Olympic gold medalist.
His number 25 for the Celtics is retired and now hangs from the rafters in the Boston Garden. In addition, his number 4 is also retired by the San Francisco Dons. Jones was named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1989, and the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006. He is also a 5x NBA All Star Coach, and a “Triple Crown” Winner. In 2016, Jones recieved the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award. To say his career wasn’t filled with good things is an understatement.
Toph’s Final Word
To state K.C. Jones was a good ballplayer is an understatement. He was a leader, a pioneer, a mentor, and to Bill Russell, a great friend and roommate. With the years he played for Boston, his defensive prowess was unmatched. His skill of knowing the game played even bigger wen transitioning from player to coach. His career coaching record is a winning one at .643 as he went 552-306. Jones’ knowledge of the game and connection to his players made even more a threat as it gave teams growth and chemistry.
As he was not only a coach of the Boston Celtics, but also an intricate part of their championships as a player stretch in the late 50’s-early 60’s, he’s always family. Just like the Bruins, “Once a Celtics, forever green!” K.C was a shining light that always knew how to win.
From all of us here at Couch Guy Sports, are thoughts and prayers are with the Jones family. K.C was a great player, and a great human being.