The Press Pass: Sam Jones 5-30-20

Basketball legend, Sam Jones talks about his Hall of Fame career. Sam won ten NBA championships with the Celtics, eight of them consecutively—1959-1966. His number 24 hangs from the rafters of the Garden. In 1996, Sam Jones was named as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.

In a lively interview with WKXL’s Chris Ryan, Sam Jones helps you to relive the glory days when the Celtics were a true basketball dynasty. Sam Jones was a 6’4” guard with quickness and leaping ability. He was an all-around player who could defend, rebound, and score. He had a picture-perfect jump shot, and he was a master of the bank shot.
Sam Jones tells about Red Auerbach acquiring talented athletes who were willing to work as a team, how he pushed them to be in tremendous condition, and how he motivated the Celtics to be perennial champions.

The Celtic teams in the 1950s and 1960s were loaded with Hall of Fame Talent; but, even though Sam Jones was a star who led the team in scoring for three years and averaged over 20 points per game for his 12 year career, he considers himself to have been a supporting player. He talks about what it was like to play with his legendary teammates—Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Tommy Heinsohn, Bill Sharman, and John Havlicek.

Sam Jones also reminisces about his high school and Division II basketball career. He tells about how his wife talked him into choosing the NBA over a teaching career and his experiences of playing against some NBA players while doing military service.

When Sam is asked about how he would do in today’s NBA, he explains how so many conditions were different in his time. Sam Jones believes that the players of his time would find a way to be competitive today if they also had access to the training and nutrition of today’s athletes.

Sam Jones gives a unique spin on the famed rivalry between Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. He explains why Bill Russell was like having a coach on the floor who could give you constructive criticism and get you to play harder. Sam gives a terrific description of his own last dance when he and Bill Russell played their last game in game 7 of the 1969 championship against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Celtics upset Lakers celebration plans.

In his day, Sam Jones, his teammates, and opponents like Oscar Robertson or Jerry West wanted to win every game of the 82 game schedules, and he has trouble understanding why star players of today are rested.