We’ve got sad news in the basketball world this Christmas Day. Legendary Boston Celtics player and coach KC Jones has passed away.
Jones was 88 years old. A 12-time NBA champion, he is the second dynasty era Celtic we’ve lost recently. Jones’ former teammate Tommy Heinsohn passed away in early November.
A college teammate of Bill Russell at the University of San Francisco, Jones won two NCAA titles before being picked in the second round of the 1956 NBA Draft by the Celtics. From 1958-67, he won eight NBA championships with Boston, playing alongside the incomparable Russell.
Russell shared a heartfelt tribute to Jones on Twitter this afternoon.
I just received a call letting me know my x-roommate/teammate & most of all friend the great KC Jones passed this morning. Prayers to his family. We have been friends for almost 60yrs, this our last photo together. Friends for life #2020Usuck! #RIP @NBA @celtics pic.twitter.com/Ia6yZB5l2x
— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) December 25, 2020
After retiring as a player, Jones was the head coach of Brandeis University from 1967-70 and an assistant at Harvard for one season. He returned to the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1971-72, winning his ninth overall ring and first one on the bench.
Jones would take the Washington Bullets to the 1975 NBA Finals as a head coach before adding another ring as a Boston Celtics assistant under Bill Fitch in 1981. From 1983-88, he made four trips to the NBA Finals and won a pair of titles as head coach of the Celtics.
Jones was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1989. He concluded his coaching career in 1997.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Jones family and the Celtics organization at this time.