Caldwell Jones’ legacy is still being felt in the NBA with only two degrees of separation.
As the NBA’s oldest player in 1989-90, Jones played for the Spurs and mentored a rookie David Robinson, who later imparted his lessons on Tim Duncan. When you see Duncan still paying the right way, don’t ignore Jones’ impact on his basketball lineage.
He played three ABA seasons and then 14 in the NBA with the 76ers, Rockets, Bulls (during Michael Jordan’s rookie season), Trail Blazers and Spurs. The 6-foot-11 forward/center did the dirty work for some very good teams, defending and rebounding.
Jones was joined in the NBA by three brothers – Will Jones, Major Jones and Charles Jones. All four made it to the league out of Albany State in Georgia.
Throughout his career and after, Caldwell Jones established himself as quite the character. Chili dogs were his favorite breakfast, and though that’s no joke, he was always quick with humor.
In many seasons while I was covering the Trail Blazers at The Oregonian we’d have to put out a pre-season special section about the team. A part of that was individual player profiles and to that end, we’d always ask each player a goofy question just to add a little humor to the dry profiles. Jones’s responses were classic.
Caldwell, what’s your favorite seafood?
“Salt water taffy,” he responded without missing a beat.
“I’ll probably get into baseball,” he says. “At my age, I can be a DH or pitch like Nolan Ryan. After all, he’s even older than I am