Sam Jones, who led the Boston Celtics to a remarkable ten NBA titles in the 1950s and 1960s, has died. He was 88 years old when he died.
The winningest combo in American sports history is Jones and all-time great center Bill Russell. In Boston, the two co-founded the sport’s first dynasty, capturing ten titles together. Russell ended with a total of 11 chips.
Coach Red Auerbach drafted Jones without even seeing him out of North Carolina Central University, a historically Black college because he quickly became known in college as a clutch shooter who could hit the open shot during the playoffs.
“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 obtained by ESPN. “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.
“We mourn the passing of a basketball giant and send our deepest condolences to Sam’s family and the Celtics organization.”
Jones concluded his stellar career with 15,411 points, making him a five-time All-Star. During his career, he averaged 17.7 points per game and led the Celtics in scoring three times. He also held the franchise record most points in a game with 51 until Larry Bird broke it in the 1980s.