BOSTON (AP) — Basketball Hall of Famer Jo Jo White, a two-time NBA champion with the Boston Celtics and an Olympic gold medalist, has died. He was 71.
The Celtics announced his death Tuesday night. No cause was provided.
The team says it is “terribly saddened” by White’s passing, calling him a “champion and a gentleman; supremely talented and brilliant on the court, and endlessly gracious off of it.”
The St. Louis native (McKinley HS) played 10 seasons for Boston, which drafted him ninth overall from Kansas in 1969. He averaged 17.2 points per game over 13 years, also playing for Golden State and the New York Knicks before retiring in 1981.
The Celtics retired White’s No. 10 the following year, and he still was working with the club as a director of special projects at the time of his death.
“His contributions to the team’s championship legacy may have only been surpassed by the deep and lasting impact that he had in the community,” the Celtics said in the statement. “The thoughts and sympathies of the entire Celtics organization are with the White family.”
White, who won an Olympic gold medal with the U.S. team in 1968, was a seven-time NBA All-Star. He was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015, when he recalled his performance in the triple-overtime victory over the Suns that put Boston one game away from winning another title.
White played 60 of a possible 63 minutes of the game. Former Boston coach and player Tommy Heinsohn said the induction into the Hall of Fame was long overdue for White, who was thrilled it happened after battling health problems, including a brain tumor, late in life.
“I absolutely adored playing this game,” White said.
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