C.S. Jones, who embodied the victory as a playmaker and later as coach of the Boston Celtics during his Hall of Fame career, passed away, announced the Celtics on Friday. He was 88 years old.
CC was called Jones, although some joked that CC was the championship. It was easy to see why.
He spent nine seasons in the NBA, all with the Celtics, and won titles in eight of them – the third largest in the history of the league, behind only his old teammates Bill Russell (11) and Sam Jones (10). This success continued during his coaching days, when he and Larry Bird & Co. won three titles in the successful Boston series in the eighties (one as assistant, two as head coach).
He also won a championship as assistant coach of the Los Angeles Lakers in 1972.
Jones wasn’t flashy and his playing days weren’t filled with faint statistics; he only gained an average of 7.4 points in his career. But the 1.80 m tall guard was the most notable player on the team, whose defense allowed him to take on stars like Jerry West and Oscar Robertson, and whose playing skills kept the Celtics engine running.
Fault! The file name is not specified. K.C. Jones played nine seasons in the NBA, all with the Celtics, and won titles in eight of them. This success continued during his coaching days, when he won three titles (one as assistant, two as head coach) in the 1980s in the Boston race. Dick Raphael/NBAE/Getty Images
I couldn’t see how someone who did as badly as C.S. could stay in the NBA, recalls Bob Cousy, the famous Celtics player who first replaced Jones as a starter when Cuse retired in 1963. I really didn’t think his other skills would be enough to hold him. But I was wrong. The man turned out to be defensively great and eventually learned to score enough, so the other teams couldn’t afford not to keep him.
Jones was a member of the Celtic champion teams from 1959-66, an unprecedented eight-year career in professional sport. He did not win the championship in 1966-67 in his only season and Jones retired shortly after at the age of 34.
But Jones stayed in the game, first as a coach at Brandeis University near Boston, then as assistant or head coach to the NBA or ABA before returning to the Celtics as an assistant under Bill Fitch in 1977. Fitch left the team four years later and Jones took over. He inherited a team led by Bird and other indoor players, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish. Three weeks after Jones came to power, the Celtics tried to take over Dennis Johnson.
Together they reached the NBA finals for four consecutive seasons (1984-87) and won the title in 1984 and 1986. Jones’ weak training style has been criticised by some, but his players have applauded it.
K.C. was the nicest person I’ve ever met, he always did everything he could to make people feel good, it was an honor to play against him, Vogel said in a statement. His achievements are too numerous to list, but for me his greatest achievement is that he was such an exceptional person that anyone who had the privilege of knowing him will regret it a great deal.
Jones left the Celtics bank after the 1987 season, joined the Celtics and finished his coaching career in Seattle and Detroit.
His number 25 was retired by the Celtics, and he was admitted to the Professional Basketball Hall of Fame in 1989.
K.C. has also shown that you can be both a tough competitor and a gentleman in the true sense of the word, the Celts said in a statement on Friday. He improved his teammates and got the best out of the players he coached. He never sought the credit, but found his glory in the most fundamental ideal of basketball: being part of a winning team.
The Celtics family mourns his loss as we celebrate his remarkable career and life.
Jones, a Texan by birth, played with Russell at the University of San Francisco and won NCAA titles in 1955 and 1956. This summer Team USA won the gold medal at the Melbourne Olympics after winning a second title.
Russell tweeted his condolences to the Jones family and shared a photo.
I just got a call that I know my roommate and especially a friend of the great KC Jones who disappeared this morning. Pray to his family. We’ve been friends for almost 60 years, this is our last picture together. Friends for Life #2020 Happiness! #RIP @NBA @celtics pic.twitter.com/Ia6yZB5l2x
– TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) 25 December 2020
To date, Jones is only one of eight players who have won the university and NBA basketball titles and the Olympic gold. He joins Russell, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Jerry Lucas, Quinn Buckner, Clyde Lovlett and Anthony Davis.
The Celtics took a moment of silence for Jones before Friday’s game against the Nets.
From his two NCAA titles to Olympic gold and eight consecutive NBA finals with the Celtics during his Hall of Fame career, K.C.’s remarkable performance and impact will long be remembered, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. Our thoughts are with KC and the entire Celtic organisation.
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