Boson Celtics Legend K.C. Jones Dies At 88

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Legendary Boston Celtics player and coach, and basketball Hall of Famer K.C. Jones passed away on Christmas Day at the age of 88.

According to the Boston Celtics, Jones’ family confirmed his death on Friday at an assisted living facility in Connecticut, where he had been for several years receiving care for Alzheimer’s disease.

A native of Taylor, Tex., Jones began his basketball career at the University of San Francisco where he and Bill Russell led the team to back-to-back NCAA championships in 1955 and 1956. Later in 1956, Jones and Russell were on the gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic basketball team in Melbourne, Australia.

In 1958, Jones began nine seasons playing with the Boston Celtics, racking up eight championships. He retired after the team's loss to the Philadelphia 76ers in 1967 and started his coaching career at Brandeis University.

Jones was also an assistant coach at Harvard University 1970-1971, and he coached for the L.A. Lakers, the San Diego Conquistadors, the Capital/Washington Bullets, and the Milwaukee Bucks before returning to Boston to join the Celtics' coaching team from 1978 until 1988.

"Where K.C. Jones went, winning was sure to follow," the Celtics said in a statement Friday. "K.C... was a twelve-time NBA champion as player and coach, a two-time NCAA champion, and a Gold medal-winning Olympian and Hall of Famer. In NBA history, only teammates Bill Russell and Sam Jones have more championship rings during their playing careers."

The Celtics said Jones was never one to seek credit, instead his glory was found in the most fundamental of basketball ideals; being part of a winning team.

K.C. Jones and Bill Russell, along with Clyde Lovellette, Jerry Lucas, Quinn Buckner, Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Michael Jordan, are the only players in history to achieve basketball’s "Triple Crown" — winning an NCAA Championship, an NBA Championship and an Olympic Gold Medal. The Celtics said Jones' number 25 has hung from the rafters since 1967.

The team said Jones' coaching career was as illustrious as his time on the court. He was named to lead the Celtics in 1983, beginning what the team called "one of the most remarkable head coaching runs the NBA has seen."

"K.C. helmed the Celtics for two of the most memorable seasons in the team’s rich history, first leading the team to a championship in 1984 over the Lakers during a peak of that storied rivalry. Two seasons later, he led what many consider the greatest team in NBA history, the 1986 Champion Boston Celtics," the team said. "These were the highlights of an astonishing four consecutive seasons in the NBA Finals, one of the most impressive and beloved Celtics eras."

"K.C. also demonstrated that one could be both a fierce competitor and a gentleman in every sense of the word. He made his teammates better, and he got the most out of the players he coached," the team added. "The Celtics family mourns his loss, as we celebrate his remarkable career and life."

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Written by Brit Smith

(Photo: Getty Images)

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