K.C. Jones averaged just 8.8 points per game in college, served two years in the Army and – despite not playing college football but having been drafted by them anyway – joined the Los Angeles Rams.
He then became a Basketball Hall of Famer.
Jones – who accomplished so much, primarily with the Celtics – died at age 88.
Tim Bontemps of ESPN:
Sad news on this Christmas: Celtics legend KC Jones has died. Jones, a college teammate of Bill Russell at the University of San Francisco, where they won two NCAA titles, won 12 NBA championships — 11 with Boston: eight as a player, one as an assistant and two as a head coach.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) December 25, 2020
After joining the Celtics in 1958 following a football injury, Jones won championships in the first eight seasons of his nine-year career. He began as Bob Cousy’s backup then became Boston’s top point guard. Jones’ hard-nosed defense never made him an All-Star, but it helped him get rings and into the Hall of Fame.
Jones’ 7.4 points per game are the fourth-fewest by anyone inducted into the Hall of Fame as an NBA player – ahead of only Dennis Rodman, Buddy Jeannette and Chuck Cooper.
Jones won 67% of his games as an NBA head coach in 10 seasons with the Capital/Washington Bullets, Boston Celtics and Seattle SuperSonics. He coached Boston to 1984 and 1986 champions and back to the NBA Finals in both following seasons.
Larry Bird, reflecting on Jones’ coaching tenure, called him the “nicest man I ever met.”