Celtic Sam Jones of Wilmington and the NBA

On June 24, 1933, legendary Boston Celtics player Sam Jones was born in Wilmington. During his 12 seasons with the Celtics, Jones and his team won 10 championships.

Basketball was always a part of Jones’s life. He played the game in high school, and at North Carolina Central University. During his college career, he caught the eye of Red Auerbach, the coach of the Boston Celtics. At N.C. Central, Jones studied and prepared to teach high school, and by the time he graduated, he had a job offer. But teaching was not Jones’s destiny. He was the first draft pick for the Celtics, and was the eighth overall pick in the 1957 NBA draft.

Jones began to gain national recognition during the 1961-1962 season, earning the nickname “Mr. Clutch.” As a guard for the Celtics, he was known for his great dedication, amazing accuracy in shooting and speed and agility on the court.

Jones retired in 1969, and shortly thereafter the Celtics officially retired his jersey number, 24. He went on to coach at Federal City College and N.C. Central and worked as an assistant coach with the New Orleans Jazz.

He was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 1983 and now lives in Florida.

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