Where Are They Now? - K.C. Jones
Where Are They Now? - K.C. Jones
His jersey #25 is in clear view with the other twenty-one retired Celtics numbers that overlook each Celtics home game at the FleetCenter. #25, K. C. Jones, proudly represented the very best in Celtics history - as a tough, defensive-minded, team-oriented player and later on as their highly successful Head Coach in the 1980's. K. C guided the 1984 and 1986 Celtics to supremacy, capturing the NBA World Championship title both seasons.
Today, he works as a Special Assistant for the University of Hartford. He is the color analyst for the men's basketball games and he assists the university with fundraising and community endeavors. But his love for the Green and White, his warm personality and his infectious smile are all very much present whenever he returns to Boston.
At a recent Celtics home game, Celtics.com's Jeff Twiss had an opportunity to speak with K. C. and have him share his thoughts and recollections on his playing days and on the NBA of today.
What is keeping K. C. Jones active and busy these days?
Jones: "Well, I'm doing the color analysis for the University of Hartford Men's Basketball Team, and having a good time with that. That team started off 2-0 then lost the next two games and lost a game by one point. The game after that we lost by about 30 points to a very strong team, but we have had a lot of injuries. But, hey, the guys are doing real well."
Is broadcasting something you always wanted to do?
Jones: "Yes, this is something I could see myself doing. It's a fun time being in front of a radio and broadcasting a game. It's something that's a little different (than coaching) and I like it. It's a new experience and you know people are listening to you - it's beautiful"
Do you have any favorite or special Celtics memories?
Jones: "Well, one of the special times was when I was with Larry, Kevin, Robert and the teams of the '80's. That was super. Now, back when I was playing, going to Syracuse was something. We had to walk from the hotel to the gym, which was about six blocks (and it could get real cold during the winter there). Knowing that we were going to be in fights and the fans were going to be all over us, we had this defeatist attitude that, boy, we can't win here (this was in my rookie year of 1958). And then the next year, we went in there and before Red Auerbach came in the locker room (Bill) Russell got up in front of the group and said, 'alright guys, we're going to get this %*#%*& game here and I'm tired of all this --------', and we went out and won... and never lost again up there. But that was going from being negative to alright we can do something here being positive. There was Russell, Satch (Tom Sanders), myself, Cous (Bob Cousy), Heinie (Tom Heinsohn) and Sharman (Bill) that was the core of the team but it was Russell that started the whole thing about being positive."
Is there any particular thing you learned by being a Celtic or by being a part of all those championship teams?
Jones: "Oh yeah. I learned, while I sat on the bench five years playing behind Cousy and getting pissed and upset about it (not getting the minutes). Only if we were 20 points up then I would get two minutes... and if we were 20 points down, then I would get about ten minutes depending on where the game was at that point. But, I was not vocal - that is the important part. I sat there and watched Cous be the point guard, and I'm a point guard, but I watched and learned from him. So that was my mindset."
Was it difficult adjusting to life after your playing days were done?
Jones: "Yes, it was very difficult. Because you 'could' play another three or four years but being at the age of 35 or 36, you ask 'why do I want to go on like this?' And, after you are done you say, 'what am I going to do now?' I was fortunate that I went into college coaching at Brandeis and then on to Harvard and then to the Lakers (with Bill Sharman as an assistant) in 1971-72. I then got a chance to be a head coach and things went up from there."
K. C., your thoughts on the game or the NBA of today?
Jones: "Oh it's changed, for sure. When you read in the paper that this guys is making 10 million, this guys is making 17 million and this guy is making 5 million... what is the 11th and 12th player on the bench making? Probably, $500,000 to a million sitting on the bench and that's not bad gravy! So the money is up there and, of course, the players deserve it because they are running up and down the court trying to win a game. That's the major difference I have seen."