BOSTON (AP) — Basketball Hall of Famer Sam Jones, the skilled scorer whose 10 NBA titles is second only to Boston Celtics teammate Bill Russell, has died, the team said. He was 88.
Jones died Thursday night in Florida, where he had been hospitalized in failing health, Celtics spokesman Jeff Twiss said. The team planned a moment of silence before Friday’s game against the Phoenix Suns.
“Another one of my dear friends lost,” Celtics broadcaster Cedric Maxwell wrote on Twitter. “Well, the banks are open in heaven this #NYE.”
A North Carolina native, Jones played for Hall of Fame coach John McLendon at North Carolina Central before Celtics general manager Red Auerbach selected him eighth overall in the 1957 draft despite never seeing him play.
He went on to average 17.7 points and just under five rebounds in 12 years, winning eight straight titles from 1959-66.
“You look at the championships and what he did, it’s obviously a big loss for the community here,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said before Friday’s game.
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