Celtics great Jo Jo White dies at 71

Manny Rubio-USA TODAY Sports

Jo Jo White, an exceptional shooting guard for the Boston Celtics who helped take the team to two National Basketball Association championships in the 1970s and who also won an Olympic gold medal in the 1968 Summer Olympics, died January 16. He's a staple of the legendary Celtics franchise, spending nine and a half years with the green and white team in MA.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of an incredible husband and father", White's family said in a statement, according to the sports news outlet. "On behalf of the National Basketball Association family, I extend my deepest sympathies to Jo Jo's family and friends and the Celtics organization".

"The men and women of the #BPD offer thoughts and prayers to the family and friends" of White, Boston Police said, adding that he "was a consummate pro, gentleman and class act both on the floor and off. #RIPJoJo". "When you talk about KU greats and you're trying to fill that five of the best who ever played here from a talent standpoint, most of the old-timers put Jo Jo in that group". He had surgery for a brain tumor in 2010.

White played 60 minutes in arguably the greatest game in NBA history, which was a triple-overtime thriller in Game 5 of the 1976 NBA Finals against the Phoenix Suns.

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White was eventually traded to the Golden State Warriors and he finished his career with the Kansas City Kings. "He was probably one of my biggest supporters from day one since I got here", Rondo said after his team's 116-113 win.

Before going pro, he played on the 1968 USA Olympic basketball team in Mexico City, Mexico, which won the gold medal despite numerous top prospects at the time not playing on it. The seven-time All-Star was named the 1976 NBA Finals MVP, and in 1982 the Celtics retired his No. 10 jersey.

Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, White was drafted out of the University of Kansas with the ninth overall pick in 1969.

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