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Celtics guard, basketball Hall of Famer Sam Jones dies at 88

Celtics guard, basketball Hall of Famer Sam Jones dies at 88
Celtics legend and basketball Hall of Famer Sam Jones died at age 88 on Thursday. File Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Jan. 1 (UPI) -- Former Boston Celtic and basketball Hall of Famer Sam Jones has died, the team confirmed. He was 88 years old.

Jones's son, Aubre, said the longtime Celtics guard died Thursday after his health had been deteriorating since he was admitted to a hospital in Boca Raton, Fla., on Christmas night, the NBA said in a statement.

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Jones was remembered with a moment of silence before the Celtics' game against the Phoenix Suns on Friday.

"Sam Jones was one of the most talented, versatile, and clutch shooters for the most successful and dominant teams in NBA history," the Celtics said in a statement. "His scoring ability was so prolific and his form so pure, that he earned the simple nickname 'The Shooter.' He was also known as 'Mr. Clutch.'"

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After gaining the attention of legendary Celtics coach Red Auerbach while playing at North Carolina Central University, the Celtics drafted Jones with the eighth overall pick in the 1957 draft.

Jones played all 12 of his NBA seasons with the Celtics, winning 10 championships. The team retired his No. 24 jersey in 1969.

"Only Bill Russell won more championships in his NBA career," the Celtics said. "The Jones family is in our thoughts as we mourn his loss and fondly remember the life and career of one of the greatest champions in American sports."

Jones was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984 and was named one of the NBA's 75 greatest players in 2021.

"Sam Jones will be remembered as one of the most prolific champions in all of professional sports," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. "His selfless style, clutch performances and signature bank shot were hallmarks of an incredible career that featured 10 NBA championships in 12 seasons with the Boston Celtics."

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