Eight-time NBA champion as a player, and winner of 12 titles in total, the former Boston legend passed away at 88.
Boston Celtics basketball legend KC Jones, 12-time NBA champion as a player and coach, has died aged 88, his former club announced on Friday. “The Celtics family mourn the loss of KC Jones as we celebrate his remarkable career and life. He has shown that you can be both a fierce competitor and a gentleman in every sense of the word, ”the Massachusetts franchise paid tribute to him.
Jones, also an Olympic gold medalist with the United States in 1956 and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1989, was crowned eight times in a row as a player between 1959 and 1966, making him one of the most successful in the world. North American Basketball League history behind then-teammates Bill Russell (11) and Sam Jones (10). He added four rings to his collection: two as a coach, from the equally legendary Celtics team led by Larry Bird in 1984 and 1986, and two more as an assistant coach in 1972 (with the Lakers) and 1981 (with Boston). Jones also won the NCAA championship with the University of San Francisco in 1955 and 1956. This past year, he was part of the winning US campaign at the Melbourne Games, alongside his future Celtics teammate Bill Russell.
“Where KC Jones was going, victory was sure to follow,” the Celtics recalled. Jones was indeed part with Russell, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Quinn Buckner, Jerry Lucas and Clyde Lovellette of the club of the few players who won the “Triple Crown” combining NBA, NCAA and Olympic titles. “The way he was revered by the players he played with, by the people he worked with, by the players who played for him, made him special,” said the current coach of the C’s, Brad Stevens, a few hours away from hosting Brooklyn in a Christmas game.
If his playing career was played only in the colors of the green clover, that of technician saw him sit on the benches of Washington, Milwaukee, Seattle or even Detroit without meeting such success as in Boston where he rarely lost. His only losses in the finals were conceded in 1985 and 1987 against the Lakers of Magic Johnson. Without ever questioning the Boston side that the mysterious “C” of his first name certainly meant “Champion”.