Remembering Sam Jones

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The death of Sam Jones marked another of my early Celtic Heroes passing. Back in that time Celtic games were not on television like today so my recollections came from the few games I saw them play. Sam Jones was a great shooter who sacrificed his points for the greater good, Celtic success and championships. As a player he was the second greatest winner all time in team sports in America. He won ten rings with the Celtics second only to the great Bill Russell.

Two memories of Jones stand out in my memory. The first was game four against the Lakers in the ’69 finals. Boston down in the series two to one and down by a point in that game with seconds left called time out to set up their last shot. Player coach Bill Russell designed a play for Sam Jones. Russell also took himself out for the last shot. Jones caught the ball off a screen above the foul line and stumbled. As he stumbled he threw up a shot that went off the front rim to the back rim and in to win the game. This shot got the Celtics back in the series and ultimately led to their winning the series and title.

The other memory I have was before the sixth game of the series. This was Jones last home game as a Celtic as it was announced he would be retiring. This game was his last in front of Celtic fans. The Boston fans gave Jones a long standing ovation when he was introduced in the starting lineup. As a young Celtic fan this moment was memorable. What a great way to say thanks to one of your stars. Back then long ovations like this weren’t common and this helped make me a Celtic fan for life.

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