Sam Jones - #24 - Boston Celtics

Guard-Forward | 6'4" | 205 lbs. | Born: June 24, 1933

  • Ten-time NBA champion
  • Named to NBA's 25th anniversary team
  • Named to NBA's 50th anniversary team
  • No. 24 retired by Celtics
  • Five-Time NBA All-Star
  • Inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984

Drafted eighth overall by the Boston Celtics in the 1957 NBA Draft.

Larry Bird

Sam Jones - Biography

#24

Only one player in NBA history has won more championships than the legendary Sam Jones. That player happens to be his former teammate, Bill Russell.

Jones and Russell paired up to become one of the greatest tandems in sports history. The only reason Russell has one more title than Jones is because Jones arrived in the league one year later.

Boston selected Jones with the eighth overall pick in the 1957 NBA Draft. The pick was made just four days after the Celtics won Game 7 of the NBA Finals in thrilling fashion, downing the St. Louis Hawks 125-123 in double overtime.

Jones joined the Celtics after a phenomenal collegiate career at North Carolina Central University. The Wilmington, North Carolina native chose to stay local for his college days and play under Hall of Fame coach John McLendon. That wound up being a terrific decision, as Jones starred for McLendon for four seasons. He made three All-Conference teams and scored 1,770 points during college.

Legend has it that the head honcho in Boston, Red Auerbach, never actually watched Jones play in person before drafting him in 1957. Instead, he went against his typical stance of drafting only players who he had seen play in person on several occasions.

The selection of Jones shocked everyone, including Jones himself. The guard believed that his selection to the Celtics would end his career, as he didn’t believe he was good enough to make the World Championship team after playing at a small college.

“I never felt so miserable in my life when I got the news,” Jones was quoted as saying. “I really thought it was the end of my basketball career. Sure, I was thrilled with the honor… I never thought I’d be able to break into the game, let alone into the lineup.”

Truth be told, he’d break into the lineup eventually, and in a big way.

Jones played a very limited role in his rookie season as Auerbach eased the young shooting guard into his NBA career. His averages of only 4.6 points per game and 10.6 minutes per game were modest at best.

The nest season is when Jones’ ascension began. His playing time nearly doubled, while his scoring more than doubled up to 10.7 PPG. That 1958-59 season wound up being the first of 11 consecutive seasons in which Jones scored at least 10.7 PPG.

Jones continued to improve as the years went on and as such, his role increased as well. He became one of the top shooting guards in the league and maxed out with 25.9 PPG in 1964-65. He was a key cog in every championship team he was a member of, as he scored at least 20.6 PPG in seven of his 12 postseasons.

Those impressive postseasons helped him earn the nickname “Mr. Clutch.” When the Celtics needed a clutch bucket, Jones was almost always there to provide it. His most notable clutch moments arrived in 1961-62, when his basket over Wilt Chamberlain propelled the Celtics to the Finals. Jones then scored five of Boston’s 10 points in overtime of Game 7 against the Lakers to help the team capture its fourth straight title.

Jones was known most for two things: his bank shot and his movement. He mastered the use of the glass and capitalized on that skill very often. He also refused to stand still on the floor. Jones was always moving, and, interestingly enough, that was one of the traits that caught Auerbach’s eye during Jones’ very first training camp with the team.

Jones’ 12-year career with the Celtics included 15,411 points, 4,305 rebounds and 2,209 assists. He still ranks seventh on the team’s all-time scoring list. The Celtics honored him by retiring his No. 24 jersey on March 9, 1969, before a game in which he played and scored 16 points. Boston defeated the San Francisco Warriors by 49 points during that contest.

Honors for Jones did not end within Boston’s organization. The league took notice of his stellar career as well. Jones was selected to four NBA All-Star games and was named to the NBA’s 25th and 50th Anniversary Teams. He was enshrined into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame with the class of 1984.

What a story for No. 24. Jones was a small town, North Carolina boy who grew into one of the greatest champions in sports history. He was skeptical of how his career would unfold with the Celtics, but in hindsight, his pairing with Russell and Boston was meant to be.

SAM JONES

Height: 6'4" Weight: 205 LBS Birth: 06/24/33 College: NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL '57
First round draft choice (the 8th pick overall) in 1957... retired in 1969.

Regular Season Record
Year G MIN FGM FGA PCT FTM FTA PCT OFF DEF TOT AST PF-DQ ST BL PTS AVG
57-58 56 594 100 233 .429 60 84 .714 - - 160 37 42-0 - - 260 4.6
58-59 71 1466 305 703 .434 151 196 .770 - - 428 101 102-0 - - 761 10.7
59-60 74 1512 355 782 .454 168 220 .764 - - 375 125 101-1 - - 878 11.9
60-61 78 2028 480 1069 .449 211 268 .787 - - 421 217 148-1 - - 1171 15.0
61-62 78 2388 596 1284 .464 243 297 .818 - - 458 232 149-0 - - 1435 18.4
62-63 76 2323 621 1305 .476 257 324 .793 - - 396 241 162-1 - - 1499 19.7
63-64 76 2381 612 1359 .450 249 318 .783 - - 349 202 192-1 - - 1473 19.4
64-65 80 2885 821 1818 .452 428 522 .820 - - 411 223 176-0 - - 2070 25.9
65-66 67 2155 626 1335 .469 325 407 .799 - - 347 216 170-0 - - 1577 23.5
66-67 72 2325 638 1406 .454 318 371 .857 - - 338 217 191-1 - - 1594 22.1
67-68 73 2408 621 1348 .461 311 376 .827 - - 357 216 181-0 - - 1553 21.3
68-69 70 1820 496 1103 .450 148 189 .783 - - 265 182 121-0 - - 1140 16.3
TOTALS 871 24285 6271 13745 .456 2869 3572 .803 - - 4305 2209 1735-5 - - 15411 17.7
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Playoff Record
57-58 8 75 10 22 .455 11 16 .688 - - 24 4 7-0 - - 31 3.9
58-59 11 192 40 108 .370 33 39 .846 - - 63 17 14-0 - - 113 10.3
59-60 13 197 45 117 .385 17 21 .809 - - 41 18 15-0 - - 107 8.2
60-61 10 258 50 112 .446 31 35 .886 - - 54 22 22-0 - - 131 13.1
61-62 14 504 123 277 .444 42 60 .700 - - 99 44 30-0 - - 288 20.6
62-63 13 450 120 248 .484 69 83 .831 - - 81 32 42-1 - - 309 23.8
63-64 10 356 91 180 .506 50 68 .735 - - 47 23 24-0 - - 232 23.2
64-65 12 495 135 294 .459 73 84 .869 - - 55 30 39-1 - - 343 28.6
65-66 17 602 154 343 .449 114 136 .838 - - 86 53 65-1 - - 422 24.8
66-67 9 326 95 207 .459 50 58 .862 - - 46 28 30-1 - - 240 26.7
67-68 19 685 162 367 .441 66 84 .786 - - 64 50 58-0 - - 390 20.5
68-69 18 514 124 296 .419 55 69 .797 - - 58 37 45-1 - - 303 16.8
TOTALS 154 4654 1149 2571 .447 611 753 .811 - - 718 358 391-5 - - 2909 18.9
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