K. C. Jones (May 25, 1932 – December 25, 2020) was an American professional basketball player and coach. He is best known for his association with the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA), with whom he won 11 of his 12 NBA championships (eight as a player, one as an assistant coach, and two as a head coach). As a player, he is tied for third for most NBA championships in a career, and is one of three NBA players with an 8–0 record in NBA Finals series. He is the only African-American coach other than Bill Russell to have won multiple NBA championships. Jones was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1989.
|Born||May 25, 1932|
|Died||December 25, 2020 (aged 88)|
|Listed height||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Listed weight||200 lb (91 kg)|
(San Francisco, California)
|College||San Francisco (1952–1956)|
|NBA draft||1956 / Round: 2 / Pick: 13th overall|
|Selected by the Boston Celtics|
|1971–1972||Los Angeles Lakers (assistant)|
|1972–1973||San Diego Conquistadors|
|1973–1976||Capital / Washington Bullets|
|1976–1977||Milwaukee Bucks (assistant)|
|1978–1983||Boston Celtics (assistant)|
|1989–1990||Seattle SuperSonics (assistant)|
|1994–1995||Detroit Pistons (assistant)|
|1996–1997||Boston Celtics (assistant)|
|1997–1998||New England Blizzard|
|Career highlights and awards|
As assistant coach:
|Career playing statistics|
|Points||5,011 (7.4 ppg)|
|Rebounds||2,399 (3.5 rpg)|
|Assists||2,908 (4.3 apg)|
|Stats at NBA.com|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
|Career coaching record|
|ABA & NBA||552–306 (.643)|
|Basketball Hall of Fame as player|
|College Basketball Hall of Fame|
Inducted in 2006
Jones was born in Taylor, Texas, as the oldest of six children. The initials "K. C." were his given name; he inherited the same name as his father, a factory worker and cook, who himself was named after the fabled railroad engineer Casey Jones. When Jones was aged nine, his parents divorced and he moved to San Francisco, California, with his mother and two siblings. He learned to play basketball on a patch of gravel.
Jones played college basketball at the University of San Francisco and, along with Bill Russell, guided the Dons to NCAA championships in 1955 and 1956. During their time with the Dons, Russell and Jones led the team to a then-record 55-game win streak (including an undefeated 29–0 record during the 1955–56 season) and helped pioneer a play that later became known as the alley-oop.
Jones also played with Russell on the United States national team which won the gold medal at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia, while defeating their opponents by an unsurpassed average margin of 53.5 points per game.
After completing college and joining the NBA, Jones considered a career as an NFL player, even trying out for a team. However, he failed to make the cut. During his playing days, he was known as a tenacious defender. Jones spent all of his nine seasons in the NBA with the Boston Celtics, being part of eight championship teams from 1959 to 1966, retiring after the Celtics' loss to the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1967 Eastern Division Finals. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1989.
Jones is one of only eight players in basketball history to have won an NCAA championship, an NBA championship, and an Olympic gold medal, joining Bill Russell, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Jerry Lucas, Clyde Lovellette, Quinn Buckner, and Anthony Davis. In NBA history, only his former teammates Russell (11 championships) and Sam Jones (10) have won more championships during their playing careers.
Jones began his coaching career at Brandeis University, serving as its head coach from 1967 to 1970. He served as an assistant coach at Harvard University from 1970 to 1971. Jones then reunited with former teammate Bill Sharman as the assistant coach for the 1971–72 NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers. During that season, the team won a record 33 straight games. He became the first-ever head coach of the ABA's San Diego Conquistadors on August 8, 1972.
One week after Jones' only season with the Conquistadors ended with his resignation, he signed a three‐year contract to succeed Gene Shue in a similar capacity with the Capital Bullets (name changed to Washington Bullets beginning in 1974–75) on June 18, 1973. During his three years in Washington, the Bullets had a 155–91 win‐loss record and arguably the most talented team in the league. Being swept by the Golden State Warriors in the 1975 NBA Finals and a seven-game loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals the following year resulted in Jones' contract not being renewed on May 7, 1976. He was replaced by Dick Motta three weeks later on May 28, 1976.
In 1983, Jones took over as head coach of the Boston Celtics, replacing Bill Fitch. Jones guided the Larry Bird-led Celtics to championships in 1984 and 1986. Also in 1986, Jones led the Eastern squad in the 1986 NBA All-Star Game in Dallas at the Reunion Arena, beating the Western squad 139–132. The Celtics won the Atlantic Division in all five of Jones's seasons as head coach and reached the NBA Finals in four of his five years as coach. In a surprise announcement, he retired after the 1987–88 season and was succeeded by assistant coach Jimmy Rodgers. Jones spent one season in the Celtics' front office in 1988–89, then resigned to join the Seattle SuperSonics as an assistant coach and basketball consultant for the 1989–90 season. He served as head coach of the Sonics in 1990–91 and 1991–92.
In 1994, Jones joined the Detroit Pistons as an assistant coach for one season. The Pistons' head coach at that time, Don Chaney, had previously played for Jones with the Celtics. Jones was also considered to once again coach the Celtics during the off-season in 1995. In 1996, Jones returned to the Boston Celtics, this time as an assistant coach for one season.
Jones returned to the professional coaching ranks in 1997, guiding the New England Blizzard of the fledgling women's American Basketball League (1996–1998) through its last 1+1⁄2 seasons of existence. The Blizzard made the playoffs in his second year as head coach, but they were summarily dispatched by the San Jose Lasers.
Jones married Beverly Cain – the sister of his Olympic teammate Carl Cain – in 1959; they had five children together before they divorced. He had a sixth child when he remarried to Ellen. His son, Kipper, played as a guard at Bentley College. His daughter, Bryna, received a basketball and volleyball scholarship to attend the University of Hawaii.
NBA career statisticsEdit
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
|†||Won an NBA championship|
Head coaching recordEdit
|Regular season||G||Games coached||W||Games won||L||Games lost||W–L %||Win–loss %|
|Playoffs||PG||Playoff games||PW||Playoff wins||PL||Playoff losses||PW–L %||Playoff win–loss %|
|San Diego||1972–73||84||30||54||.357||4th in Western||4||0||4||.000||Lost in Division Semifinals|
|Capital||1973–74||82||47||35||.573||1st in Central||7||3||4||.429||Lost in Conference Semifinals|
|Washington||1974–75||82||60||22||.732||1st in Central||17||8||9||.471||Lost in NBA Finals|
|Washington||1975–76||82||48||34||.585||2nd in Central||7||3||4||.429||Lost in Conference Semifinals|
|Boston||1983–84||82||62||20||.756||1st in Atlantic||23||15||8||.652||Won NBA Championship|
|Boston||1984–85||82||63||19||.768||1st in Atlantic||21||13||8||.619||Lost in NBA Finals|
|Boston||1985–86||82||67||15||.817||1st in Atlantic||18||15||3||.833||Won NBA Championship|
|Boston||1986–87||82||59||23||.720||1st in Atlantic||23||13||10||.565||Lost in NBA Finals|
|Boston||1987–88||82||57||25||.695||1st in Atlantic||17||9||8||.529||Lost in Conference Finals|
|Seattle||1990–91||82||41||41||.500||5th in Pacific||5||2||3||.400||Lost in First Round|
Awards and honorsEdit
- Two-time NCAA Champion
- 1956 Olympic Gold Medal winner
- 12-time NBA Champion (eight as a player, two as a head coach, two as an assistant coach)
- "Triple Crown" (NCAA, NBA, Olympic champion) winner
- Five-time NBA All-Star Game head coach
- Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (class of 1989)
- College Basketball Hall of Fame (class of 2006)
- U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame (class of 1986 – as a member of the 1956 U.S. men's basketball team)
- 2016 Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award
- "NBA Legends profile: K.C. Jones".
- Berkman, Seth (June 19, 2016), "N.B.A. Finals Legend or Loser? Luck Is Often the Difference", The New York Times
- "K.C. Jones death & cause of death - What killed Legendary Celtics player, coach K.C. Jones, Age & Obituary". December 25, 2020.
- "Throwback Thursday: K.C. Jones". The Starting Five. February 14, 2008. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
- Kahn, Joseph P. (December 25, 2020). "K.C. Jones, a Celtics legend and 12-time NBA champion, dies at 88". The Boston Globe. Retrieved September 7, 2021.
- "Legends profile: K.C. Jones". NBA.com.
- "Jones, K. C." Encyclopedia.com. December 21, 2020. Retrieved December 29, 2020.
- "USF Hoops Legend K.C. Jones Dies; Led Dons With Bill Russell To Back-To-Back NCAA Titles". December 25, 2020. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
- Schneider, Bernie (2006). "1953–56 NCAA Championship Seasons: The Bill Russell Years". University of San Francisco. Archived from the original on November 28, 2006. Retrieved December 1, 2006.
- Johnson, James W. (2009). The Dandy Dons: Bill Russell, K. C. Jones, Phil Woolpert, and One of College Basketball's Greatest and Most Innovative Teams. Bison Books. p. 85. ISBN 9780803224445.
- Paul, Alan (2018). "An Interview With Bill Russell".
- "Melbourne 1956 Olympic champion and basketball legend Jones dies at 88". insidethegames.biz. December 26, 2020. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
- "K.C. Jones, Legendary Boston Celtics Player, Coach, Dead At 88". NESN.com. December 25, 2020. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
- Kendle, Jon. "Bump and run ... or just boxing out? K.C. Jones left impact on NFL". Times Reporter.
- "Basketball's Exclusive Triple Crown Club". ThePostGame.com. December 31, 1969.
- "Celtics legend K.C. Jones dies at 88". NBA.com. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
- "Former Celtic K. C. Jones To Coach Basketball Here | News | The Harvard Crimson". thecrimson.com.
- White Jr., Gordon S. "Personalities: K.C. Jones Hired," The New York Times, Wednesday, August 9, 1972. Retrieved December 1, 2020
- Rogers, Thomas. "K. C. Jones Named Coach Of N.B.A.'s Capital Bullets," The New York Times, Tuesday, June 19, 1973. Retrieved December 1, 2020
- Goldaper, Sam. "K. C. Jones Discharged as Bullets’ Coach," The New York Times, Saturday, May 8, 1976. Retrieved December 1, 2020
- Goldaper, Sam. "Motta to Coach Bullets," The New York Times, Saturday, May 29, 1976. Retrieved December 1, 2020
- Twiss, Jeff. "The 1984 NBA Finals". NBA.com. Retrieved February 17, 2020.
- "K. C. Jones to Retire as Coach (Published 1988)". The New York Times. May 4, 1988.
- "Sports People: BASKETBALL; K. C. Jones Leaves Celtics to Join Sonics (Published 1989)". The New York Times. August 16, 1989.
- "Boston Celtics legend K.C. Jones dies at age 88". sportingnews.com. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
- "K. C. Jones Returns as Aide With Pistons". The New York Times. September 3, 1994. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
- Arace, Michael. "Ford Reaches Point of No Return With Celtics". courant.com. Archived 02 January 2019
- "Archives | The Philadelphia Inquirer". inquirer.com.
- Swan, Gary (February 23, 1998). "Lasers Wrap Up Playoff Sweep / Machanguana proves too much for Blizzard". sfgate.com. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
- DuPree, David (November 22, 1983). "Jones: Doubly Sweet Second Time Around". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 7, 2021.
- "K.C. Still Has a Basketball Jones". The Washington Post. July 8, 1997. Retrieved September 7, 2021.
- Goldstein, Richard (December 25, 2020), "K.C. Jones, Celtics Standout as Player and Coach, Dies at 88", The New York Times
- "Legendary Boston Celtics player, coach K.C. Jones dies at 88". ESPN.com. December 25, 2020. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
- "K.C. Jones Stats". Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved December 29, 2020.
- "K.C. Jones". Basketball Reference. Retrieved December 29, 2020.
- Shapiro, Michael. "Celtics Legend, Hall-of-Famer K.C. Jones Dies at 88". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
- "The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame :: Basketball Hall of Fame on the Passing of K.C. Jones, Class of 1989". hoophall.com. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
- "K.C. Jones, Boston Celtics legend and Hall of Famer, dies at 88". CBSSports.com. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
- "Notable US Olympic Hall of Fame inductees". NBC Sports. April 20, 2009.
- "K.C. Jones and Jerry Sloan receive Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award". NBA.com: NBA Communications. June 9, 2016. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
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