Social media has been inundated with tributes to KC Jones after confirmation the Boston Celtics legend and Hall of Fame basketball great has died at the age of 88.
Jones won eight NBA championships as a Celtics player in the 1960s and two more as the head coach of the Boston teams that won titles in 1984 and '86.
The Celtics said Jones' family confirmed Friday he had died at an assisted living facility in Connecticut, where he had been receiving care for Alzheimer's disease for several years.
Jones joined with fellow Hall of Famer Bill Russell to lead San Francisco to back-to-back NCAA championships in 1955-56.
The two also played on the US team that won the Olympic gold medal at the 1956 Games in Melbourne.
A second-round draft choice by the Celtics, Jones reunited with Russell to win eight straight NBA titles from 1959-66.
The Celtics family mourns the loss of twelve-time NBA champion, two-time NCAA champion, Gold medal-winning Olympian and Hall of Famer, K.C. Jones, as we celebrate his remarkable career and life.
Full statement: https://t.co/rPoO80yZFd pic.twitter.com/QxwcpjI0rj
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) December 25, 2020
Jones was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1989 and his number 25 has hung from the rafters at Boston's TD Garden since 1967.
"I just received a call letting me know my x-roommate/teammate and most of all friend, the great KC Jones, passed this morning," Russell wrote on Twitter next to a photo of the pair smiling around a table.
"Prayers to his family. We have been friends for almost 60 years, this our last photo together. Friends for life."
Fans pay tribute to legend of the sport
News of the Hall of Famer’s death has led to a outpouring of tributes on social media.
— NBA (@NBAWatcher1986) December 25, 2020
— 🏀🎀 (@LLCoolA60) December 25, 2020
Legendary Celtics player, coach K.C. Jones dies https://t.co/F0n6MEH89q
I hate to hear this. Even though I hated his Celtics teams of the 1980s, I liked and respected K.C. Jones. RIP. #bostonceltics #1984champions #1986nbachampions #8timenbachampion #kcjones
— Ryan Jackson (@MotownBoy1976) December 25, 2020
Sad news on this Christmas: Celtics legend KC Jones has died. Jones, a college teammate of Bill Russell at the University of San Francisco, where they won two NCAA titles, won 12 NBA championships — 11 with Boston: eight as a player, one as an assistant and two as a head coach.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) December 25, 2020
Coached the greatest NBA team in history the 1986 Celtics. What a career as player and coach.
— Toby Wyman (@wymantoby) December 25, 2020
Great guy. Perfect coach for that Celtics team in the 80s. Complete legend. KC, thanks for the memories, and RIP 🙏🙏
— Gregory of Yardale (@buckyeffingdent) December 25, 2020
Rest in Peace, KC. Wasn’t around to see you coach but I can tell you was revolutionary with your work. Thanks for all you’ve done for basketball.
— Zak ✪ (@ProXpertGamer) December 25, 2020
— @sprtzman2332 (@jaosn54744181) December 26, 2020
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released a statement paying testament to Jones' impact on the sport.
“K.C. Jones was among the most decorated champions in the history of our game," Silver said.
"His relentless defense as a player and remarkable poise as a coach made him essential to 12 NBA championship teams, including 11 with the Boston Celtics.
"From winning two NCAA titles to earning an Olympic gold medal to helping the Celtics win eight consecutive NBA Finals during his Hall of Fame career, K.C.’s extraordinary accomplishments and impact will long be remembered.
"Our thoughts are with K.C.’s loved ones and the entire Celtics organization.”
Jones retired in 1967 and began coaching, first in college at Brandeis and Harvard before joining the Los Angeles Lakers as an assistant, in 1971-72, where he earned another championship ring.
He was an assistant coach on the Celtics team that won it all in 1981 before guiding the team led by Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish to the 1984 and '86 championships.
"KC demonstrated that one could be both a fierce competitor and a gentleman in every sense of the word," the Celtics said in a statement.
"He made his teammates better, and he got the most out of the players he coached. Never one to seek credit, his glory was found in the most fundamental of basketball ideals - being part of a winning team.
"The Celtics family mourns his loss, as we celebrate his remarkable career and life."
with Yahoo Sport staff
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