Meet the Men in Green - JoJo White
By Jeff Twiss, Celtics VP of Media Relations
JoJo White was the consummate professional basketball player. He was durable and displayed discipline, was a tenacious defender, a superb jump shooter and a very underrated playmaker. He was a leader.
For the former Marine, accolades and honors were synonymous in his brilliant career with the Boston Celtics. The St. Louis native was a two-time All-American at the University of Kansas. In addition, White and Charlie Scott - who later joined White on the Celtics to form the league's premier back court - were paired together on the U.S. Olympic Team that won the Gold Medal at Mexico City in 1968.
But White not only excelled in basketball. The 6-3 guard was such a dynamic and gifted all-around athlete that the mighty NFL Dallas Cowboys and the Cincinnati Reds both drafted him.
White abandoned his successful walk-up collegiate style of basketball to ignite and propel Boston's famed fast-breaking attack. He was an inspiring source of both playing and scoring consistency in the 1970's.
White may have invented the term, "ironman streak," in the NBA. From the 1972-73 season through the 1976-77 campaign, five consecutive seasons, White played in all 82 regular season games for the Celtics - a measure that is unheard of today. To accentuate matters, for seven straight seasons White logged more than 3200 minutes per season. There is little argument why he was named to the NBA All-Star Team each of those seven years.
"Pro basketball was something I wanted to play since I was a little guy back in St. Louis," remarked White. "I thought a lot about it my senior year in college and remember figuring that if I ever earned $20,000 a year I'd really be doing something. I expected the NBA to be very demanding, a very tough league, and it was everything I expected."
He reached the pinnacle of his career in 1976. On June 4 at the hot, jam-packed Boston Garden in Game 5 of the NBA Championship Finals against the Phoenix Suns, White calmly and quietly led the Celtics with 33 points spread out over 60 minutes in the 128-126 triple-overtime victory. It was easy to see why No. 10 was crowned the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player.
White once said, "My greatest moment had to be the fifth game, the triple-overtime game. You know that saying about when it's your day, everything goes right. Well, that was my day. Everything I put up went in, everything I did was right."
From Bob Cousy to K. C. Jones to John Havlicek and then White, the leadership and the controls to run the Boston Celtics ship were comfortably kept on course for more than two decades.
"I was very fortunate to be chosen by the Celtics," White once explained." And, I like to think I helped carry on that tradition, too. To me, being a Celtic is putting all you have into a game and caring about your teammates. I always did that. Celtic pride is self pride."
White recently accepted a position in the Boston Celtics front office, serving as Director of Special Projects and Community Relations Representative.