Boston Celtics legend K.C. Jones has died at age 88

Consider his list of accomplishment: Twelve NBA championships as a player and coach. Two NCAA rings. One Olympic gold medal. That makes him one of only 8 players in history to have achieved basketball’s “Triple Crown.”

In fact, winning and Jones went so hand in hand that the standing joke was the ‘C’ in K.C. stood for championships.

Jones died this week at age 88, the Boston Celtics announced Friday.

The team did not release a cause of death, or say exactly when he passed away.

“K.C. Jones was among the most decorated champions in the history of our game,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in a statement.

“K.C.’s extraordinary accomplishments and impact will long be remembered.”

Jones’ death was the second passing of an iconic Celtics figure this year.

Last month, Hall of Famer Tommy Heinsohn died at 86. His legacy too will forever be tied to the Celtics, where he played a part in all 17 of the franchise’s championships — from player to coach to color commentator.

His is a rags-to-riches tale

According to a profile of him on the NBA’s site, Jones grew up in a poor family in Texas during the Depression.
K.C. is his given name. He was named after his father who, in turn, had been named after a legendary railroad engineer Casey Jones.

His parents separated when he was 9. And K.C. moved with his mother and siblings to San Francisco.

“There he learned to play basketball on a patch of gravel in an impoverished neighborhood,” the profile said.

Jones attended the University of San Francisco. He spoke little but he was a formidable presence.

The 6-foot-1 guard made his mark with defensive plays, sticking to opponents like glue, denying them chances and frustrating them to no end.

In college, he teamed up with Bill Russell — another player whose name and the word ‘legend’ are synonymous — and won two NCAA championships.

The two were also part of the US squad that won the gold medal at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956.

After a two-year stint in the Army and a (very) short stint with the Los Angeles Rams, Jones joined the Celtics . He was on his way toward sealing his place in the history books.


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