Celtics legend loses battle with cancer, dead at 71


jo-jo-whiteBoston Celtics legend Jo Jo White, who helped the franchise return to glory in the 1970s after Bill Russell’s retirement, lost his battle with cancer at age 71, the team announce.

The Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett first reported the news.

“We are terribly saddened by the passing of the great Jo Jo White,” the Celtics said in a statement. “He was a champion and a gentleman; supremely talented and brilliant on the court, and endlessly gracious off of it. Jo Jo was a key member of two championship teams, an NBA Finals MVP, a gold medal-winning Olympian, and a Hall of Famer. 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 thoughts and sympathies of the entire Celtics organization are with the White family.”

White played four seasons at the University of Kansas and won a gold medal as a member of the U.S. men’s national team at the 1968 Summer Olympics before the Celtics drafted him ninth overall in 1969.

White played 10 seasons for Boston Celtics, 2 years with Golden State Warriors and one season with Kansas City Kings (Sacramento Kings), appearing in 837 NBA games.

He holds career averages of 17.2 ppg, 4.9 apg and 4.0 rpg in 35.8 mpg. The Hall of Famer White was a 7-time All-Star, 2-time NBA champion, and 1975-1976 NBA Finals MVP.

Also drafted by the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys and Major League Baseball’s Cincinnati Reds, White served one year in the U.S. Marine Corp Reserves before beginning his NBA career. Following his retirement in 1981, White later rejoined the Celtics as director of special projects, a role he served until his death.

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