Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Jordan, Shaq Not in Jones 'League

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Jordan, Shaq Not in Jones 'League

Article excerpt

GOLF: Sam Jones, playing in a celebrity tournament, won 10 basketball titles

VENICE -- Today's elite NBA players are chasing Michael Jordan's six NBA championships. Few of them can see beyond Jordan to Bill Russell, who won 11 championships or Sam Jones, who won 10, during their time as teammates in the glory days of the late 1950s-'60s Boston Celtics.

Jones, who played in the Plantation Community Foundation 2015 Celebrity Golf Classic for the "eighth or ninth time" Thursday, has the second most championship rings of any player who ever played in the NBA, yet not many people regard him in that echelon.

The former five-time All-Star, who scored 15,411 points in his career, was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984 and named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996.

"I played 12 years, went to 12 Eastern Division finals," said Jones, who played his entire career with the Celtics. "I was always in the finals. I went to 11 NBA championships and we won 10. But what they don't ever talk about is that we also won eight straight NBA championships (1959-66).

"They talk about repeat, three-peat. We 'seven-peated.' And no one has ever said anything about it. Wait a minute. It's still NBA. It's still basketball. Give us a little bit of credit."

The media attention afforded today's NBA stars escapes Jones, and certainly Russell is not talked about like Jordan or Kobe Bryant or LeBron James.

"We heard ... that basketball began when (the NBA) drafted Magic Johnson and Larry Bird," said Jones, 81. "So that was the beginning of basketball. Anything before that was not really the NBA. I get a little bit jealous.

"I look at comparisons. I listen to Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and 'Shaq,' they talk about 'Shaq' and Kobe and 'Shaq' and Wade, they talk about Jordan and Pippen, Parker and Duncan, they talk about Isiah Thomas and Bill Laimbeer. They talk about Magic and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

"But they never mention Russell and Sam Jones. And we did something that probably no other sport team has done ever and that is, we're the winningest duo in professional sports -- football, basketball, baseball history -- as a duo," Jones said. …

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