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Remembering K.C. Jones

December 25, 2020

Of course death, specifically that of sports greats, will continue in 2021, let’s just hope not anywhere near its rate in 2020. Another great, K.C. Jones part of twelve NBA title teams, two NCAA title winners and an Olympic gold winner, when the U.S. clearly better, at least sent college players and not the B.S. that sent professionals, after a loss in ’88, died at age 88 today/Christmas Day.

This was a wise, truly great and nice man. The way he stood up after the Celts’ ’85 final round loss to the Lakers, who finally beat them and said “2-3-2?” when asked about the changed final round format, in such a cool manner, will forever resonate.

Defeat happened (two others as a final round coach with the then Bullets in ’75 and another to L.A. in ’87) but oh the victories, for this legitimate straight up defensive great.

K.C. was a member of all 8 consecutive title teams with the legendary Boston Celtics, occurring in his first eight seasons, (1959-1966). In his last season, one of the two great Wilt Chamberlain led title teams, the ’67 76ers, 5’d the Celts in the semis. K.C. then retired.

He won two college crowns alongside his future teammate and 60 plus years friend, who expressed his grief upon hearing of K.C. dying and comments regarding 2020, with a word rhyming with “truck” and I do not mean Robinson.

After his playing days, Jones (another Jones, the great clutch player Sam and of course Mr. Russell, are the only NBAers, with more titles as a player, than K.C.) won with the other Wilt led, great championship team, the ’72 Lakers, as he was an assistant coach, under another Celts’ great, Bill Sharman.

Loving that team, I recall fondly Bill Russell telling the great Jerry West “not to worry,” as he had two Celtics with him, that great ’72 season. My crazy memory recalls it after L.A. went up (3-0) vs Chi in a nationally tv’d Sunday “quarters” tilt, Bill working for ABC television at the time.

Greater glory awaited and of course it was with the Celtics. He won another title, as an assistant coach under Bill Fitch with the ’81 Celtics and then guided Boston to the 15th and 16th of their 17 crowns, winning it in ’84 and ’86.

I met Mr. Jones covering a rally for then presidential candidate Bill Bradley during a frenetic time in 1999 (why no tape with Whitney Houston, who called me Andy thrice and made me “melt” with her charm and beauty and the even greater thrill of interviewing Mr. Gregory Peck–but alas no sound-no tape-so cruel, but on we must go) and he was gracious, recalling titles but more important the friendships.

God/the force must be playing some big inter galactic games soon, as he/she/it has “recruited” so many sports greats in recent times. On we go, bye K.C.




K.C. (on the right) and Andy B. 

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