Boston Celtics Hall of Famer K.C. Jones dies at 88

Basketball Corridor of Famer K

BOSTON — Basketball Corridor of Famer K.C. Jones, an Olympic gold medalist and two-time NCAA champion who gained eight straight NBA titles in the course of the Celtics’ Monthly bill Russell era and then coached the Boston teams with Larry Hen, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish to two a lot more championships in the 1980s, has died. He was 88.

The Celtics said Jones’ relatives confirmed that he died on Friday at an assisted residing facility in Connecticut, wherever he had been acquiring care for Alzheimer’s ailment for many years.

“K.C. was the nicest guy I at any time achieved. He constantly went out of his way to make men and women really feel great, it was this kind of an honor to engage in for him,” Hen explained in a statement. “His achievements are too several to record, but, to me, his greatest accomplishment was currently being these an superb man or woman to all who had the privilege of being aware of him, I will miss him dearly.”

Jones is 1 of seven gamers in heritage to have received an Olympic gold medal, an NCAA championship and an NBA title. He won two much more NBA crowns as an assistant mentor and was the Celtics head mentor when they went to the NBA Finals 4 straight yrs from 1984-87, winning it all in ‘84 and once again two several years later with a crew that gained a then-history 67 common-period online games and went 15-3 in the postseason.

Only Russell and fellow Celtics teammate Sam Jones gained additional NBA championships as gamers.

“Where K.C. Jones went, successful was positive to adhere to,” the Celtics mentioned in a assertion right before their Xmas Working day activity against the Brooklyn Nets.

Jones is the 3rd Hall of Famer from the 1965 NBA champions to die this calendar year: John Thompson, who went on to larger success as the coach at Georgetown, died in August, and Celtics participant and mentor Tommy Heinsohn died very last month. Two times following observing a moment of silence for Heinsohn right before their year opener, the Celtics experienced one more for Jones on Friday.

“He experienced this gentleness and kindness. He was a wonderful leader of males,” Ainge reported right before Friday’s recreation. “I seemed at him as a mentor, and a buddy. A great deal a lot more than a coach.”

A stage guard who excelled on protection, Jones joined with Russell to guide San Francisco to back-to-again NCAA championships in 1955-56. The two also played on the U.S. workforce that gained the Olympic gold medal at the 1956 Games in Melbourne. Jones reunited with Russell in Boston to gain 8 straight NBA titles from 1959-66.

“Friends for daily life,” Russell posted on Twitter, along with what he explained was their past picture jointly.

Jones retired in 1967 and started coaching, first in school at Brandeis and Harvard prior to signing up for the Los Angeles Lakers as an assistant, exactly where he acquired an additional NBA championship ring in 1972. He had head coaching stints with the San Diego Conquistadors of the ABA and led the Washington Bullets to the 1975 NBA Finals.

Right after a halt in Milwaukee, Jones returned to Boston in 1978 and won his 10th NBA title as an assistant on Invoice Fitch’s team in 1981. He took more than for Fitch in 1984 and in excess of the upcoming 5 seasons under no circumstances won much less than 57 online games or unsuccessful to reach the Jap Conference finals.

Ainge mentioned Jones was misunderstood and underappreciated because he was much more laid back than some of his predecessors and therefore fewer generally pointed out amongst the fantastic Celtics coaches like Red Auerbach, Heinsohn and Fitch.

“People are always on the lookout for the people that are seeking that focus in entrance of the cameras. K.C. was fantastic with everyone else receiving the consideration and not substantially remaining focused on him,” Ainge claimed. “He didn’t have to do it pretty typically — and he did not do it very generally — but when the time came to just take a stand, he would go toe-to-toe with the Corridor of Fame gamers on our workforce.”

Jones’ No. 25 was retired by the Celtics in 1967, and he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1989.

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Amelia J. Bell

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