Sam Jones (basketball)

For the basketball player and coach born in 1978, see Sam Jones (basketball, born 1978).
For other uses, see Samuel Jones (disambiguation).
Sam Jones

Jones playing for the Celtics in 1969
Personal information
Born (1933-06-24) June 24, 1933
Wilmington, North Carolina
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Listed weight 198 lb (90 kg)
Career information
High school Laurinburg Institute
(Laurinburg, North Carolina)
College North Carolina Central (1951–1954, 1956–1957)
NBA draft 1957 / Round: 1 / Pick: 8th overall
Selected by the Boston Celtics
Playing career 1957–1969
Position Shooting guard
Number 24
Career history
19571969 Boston Celtics
Career highlights and awards
Career statistics
Points 15,411 (17.7 ppg)
Rebounds 4,305 (4.9 rpg)
Assists 2,209 (2.5 apg)
Stats at
Basketball Hall of Fame as player
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006

Samuel "Sam" Jones (born June 24, 1933) is an American retired professional basketball player at shooting guard and a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He was known for his quickness and game-winning shots, especially during the NBA Playoffs. He has the second most NBA championships of any player (10), behind his teammate Bill Russell (11). He was also only one of 3 Boston Celtics (along with teammates Bill Russell and K.C. Jones) to be part of the Celtics's 8 consecutive championships from 1959 to 1966.

College career

Jones attended and graduated from North Carolina Central University (then North Carolina College),[1] where he was a four-year letterwinner for Hall of Fame coach John McLendon and coach Floyd Brown. Jones scored 1,745 points, which is still second in school history. He was a three-time All-CIAA league selection. His jersey, no. 41, is retired and hangs in the Eagles' arena.

NBA career

Jones was 6-foot-4 (1.93 m) and weighed 200 lb (90 kg). Boston Celtics Hall of Fame coach Red Auerbach took a trip south to scout North Carolina players who had just won the national championship. Former Wake Forest coach Bones McKinney told Auerbach he could visit Chapel Hill, but the best player in the state was a few miles away. Eventually, in the 1957 NBA draft, the Philadelphia Warriors selected North Carolina's Lennie Rosenbluth with the sixth pick. Boston selected Jones two picks later, even though Auerbach had never seen Jones play.

Jones played all of his 12 seasons in the National Basketball Association NBA with the Celtics. He was known as a clutch scorer, with more than 15,000 points in his career. He participated in five All-Star Games, and is usually recognized as one of the best shooting guards of his generation.

Jones was named to the All-NBA Second Team three straight years (196567) and he played on 10 championship teams (1959–66 and 1968–69) a total exceeded only by teammate Bill Russell in NBA history.

Jones was originally claimed by the Minneapolis Lakers, but he returned to college to earn his degree upon completion of military service, and therefore voided NBA rules.

Jones’ perfect form when shooting a jump shot, along with his great clutch shooting, led opponents to nickname him "The Shooter." He was particularly adept shooting the bank shot, in which the shooter bounces the ball off the backboard en route to the basket. Many coaches, including UCLA's great John Wooden, believe that when a shooter is at a 20- to 50-degree angle to the backboard and inside 15 feet, a bank shot is always the preferred shot. At 6-foot-4, Jones was the prototype of the tall guard who could run the floor, bang the boards and had a rangy offensive game that gave opponents fits. One of the "Jones Boys" in Boston, Sam teamed with K. C. Jones in the Celtics' backcourt to create havoc in NBA arenas around the country.

He led Boston in scoring in the 1962–63 NBA season (19.7 points per game), 1964–65 NBA season (25.9) and 1965–66 NBA season (23.5). He produced four consecutive seasons averaging 20 points or better (196568). He owns Boston's fourth-best single-game scoring output (51 points vs. Detroit Pistons on October 29, 1965).[2] He scored 2,909 points in 154 playoff games (18.9 ppg), 26th best in history.


In 1962, Jones was inducted into the NAIA Basketball Hall of Fame.[3] 1969, Jones was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame – the first African-American thus honored. Jones was named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984. In 1970 he was named to the NBA 25th Anniversary Team, and in 1996, he was named as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.

Personal life

After retiring from basketball, Jones coached at Federal City College from 1969–73 and at North Carolina Central University, his alma mater, in 1973–74. He was an assistant coach for the New Orleans Jazz in 1974–75.[4]

Jones is retired and resides in Jacksonville, Florida. In 2013 he gave an inspirational talk to players for North Carolina Central after the Eagles played a game in Florida.

See also


  1. JONES, SAMUEL "SAM" • 123
  2. "Celtics History: Individual Scoring Highs". Retrieved 2007-10-07.
  3. NBA Register: 1986-87 Edition. The Sporting News Publishing Company. 1986. p. 324. ISBN 9780892042272.
  4. JONES, SAMUEL "SAM" • 183
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