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Boston Celtics Hall of Famer K.C. Jones dies at 88

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Posted at 4:03 PM, Dec 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-26 12:23:05-05

BOSTON (AP) — Basketball Hall of Famer K.C. Jones, who won eight NBA championships as a Celtics player in the 1960s and two more as the coach of the Celtics team that took the titles in 1984 and '86, has died. He was 88.

The Celtics said Jones' family confirmed on Friday that he died at an assisted living facility in Connecticut, where he had been receiving care for Alzheimer's disease for the past few years.

In a statement, the Celtics said Jones was both a "fierce competitor and a gentleman."

"He made his teammates better, and he got the most out of the players he coached," the Celtics said. "Never one to seek credit, his glory was found in the most fundamental of basketball ideals – being part of a winning team. The Celtics family mourns his loss, as we celebrate his remarkable career and life."

In 1955-56, Jones and Bill Russell led San Francisco to back-to-back NCAA championships, the Associated Press reported. Russell and Jones also won Olympic gold medals at the 1956 Games in Melbourne while playing basketball on the U.S. team.

Jones joined Russell in the NBA when the Celtics drafted Jones in the second round of the 1956 NBA Draft, and they both went on to win eight-straight NBA championships from 1959-66.

In 1967, Jones retired, and the Celtics hung his No. 25 from the rafters. After retiring as a player, Jones began coaching, first in college and then joined the Los Angeles Lakers in 1971. In 1972, he won another NBA title.

Jones earned three more NBA championships with the Celtics, first as an assistant coach in 1981, and then as head coach in 1984 and 1986.