SAN FRANCISCO—The Boston Celtics announced on Friday, December 25 that K.C. Jones, former basketball player, has died at the age of 88.

The Jones’ family confirmed to the Celtics that Jones died in Connecticut, where he had been cared for Alzheimer’s in an assistant living facility.

The Boston Celtics said in a statement that Jones “demonstrated that one could be a fierce competitor and a gentleman in every sense of the word.”

Bill Russell, a former roommate and teammate from the Boston Celtics said in a December 25 tweet that he and Jones “have been friends” for nearly six decades and that he sends “prayers to his family.”

Cedric Maxwell, another former Celtics player, said on Twitter: “The quiet genius.  #RIP my friend.”

The Celtics posted on its Twitter page the following statement:

“The Celtics family mourns the loss of twelve-time NBA champion, two-time NCAA champion, Gold medal-winning Olympian and Hall of Famer, K.C. Jones, as we celebrated his remarkable career and life.”

Born May 25, 1932 in Taylor, Texas, Jones moved to San Francisco when he was 9 years old following his parents’ divorce.  He was ultimately recruited by the University of San Francisco in the 1950s and won two NCAA championships in 1955 and 1956.

Jones joined the Celtics and played for nine seasons.  He became the Celtics’ Head Coach in 1983 after retiring from the team in 1967.

Jones’ death marks the third Hall of Famer from the 1965 NBA champions who passed away in 2020.  Tommy Heinsohn, a former Celtics player and coach, died on November 9. John Thompson, former basketball coach for Georgetown University and the first African-American coach to lead a team to the NCAA championship died on August 30.

Written By Sejja Khaled