Sam Jones EPIC
Sam Jones played college ball in Durham, North Carolina, during the height of southern segregated universities. The other university in town now a basketball powerhouse with mostly black 5 star athletes was at that time lily white. He came to North Carolina Central University for their great coach John McLeadon when into the for two years and returned to play for Coach McLeadon’s successor Floyd Brown in 1956. He averaged about 18 points a game in college was was known for his pinpoint jumper. After the 1957 season he was drafted by the Red Auerbach’s Boston Celtics to fill the role of backup guard behind starters Bob Cousy and Bill Sharman. Little did Red Auerbach know that the prize the team drafted sight unseen was going to become on of the greatest clutch shooters in NBA history. Just as he averaged 18 points a game at North Carolina Central, Sam Jones averaged 18 points a game for the Celtics where he and KC Jones formed a backcourt that carried the Celtics that won 8 rings together while Sam Jones won 10 rings personally as a Celtic. When the game was on the line in the closing down time for the W that’s when Sam Jones shined. Like taking his famed jumper over the outstretched hands of Wilt Chamberlain to take down the 76ers in a game seven decider, or the Lakers in game seven with that deadly jump shot. I remember going down to the Baltimore Civic Center and watching the Bullets play the Celtics and seeing those great Celtics teams and they were great teams. They played as one unit and played with precision. They would cut the Bullets up surgically and then Red Auerbach would light up a damn cigar noting another Celtics victory. Sam Jones seemed to make every shot he took which he didn’t but I never remember Sam Jones missing an open jumper. Every Sunday the Celtics would be featured on ABC’s game of the week playing either the 76ers, Lakers, or the Knicks it seemed. Sam Jones what a great player. Sam Jones died today at 88 years of age. You won’t see all those tributes that came earlier this week when John Madden died. Why? Because Sam Jones lived and played during a period when black ball players didn’t have media jobs after the games ended. Heck, Sam Jones retired to being a substitute teacher in Maryland not a cushy analyst job on National Television. That jumper though, sweet.