On this day in Boston Celtics history, champion point guard Jo Jo White was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1946. White played collegiately at the University of Kansas and later played for the US men’s Olympic basketball team in the 1968 USA Olympics held in Mexico City, Mexico that unexpectedly won a Gold medal.
After the Olympics, the Missouri native was selected by the Celtics with the ninth overall pick of the 1969 NBA draft despite a mandatory two-year commitment to the US Marine Corp. Boston did not have to wait the full two years for White to join the team, however.
Iconic general manager Red Auerbach managed to get White’s tour with the Marines shortened to be able to play that season with the Celtics.
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That worked out well, given much of the core of their championship teams from the 1960s — legendary big man Bill Russell and veteran shooting guard Sam Jones — retired unexpectedly.
It would end up leading to the first losing season for the Celtics since 1950, but also gave them the draft capital to take Hall of Fame center Dave Cowens in the draft that next summer.
White would make the All-Rookie team his first season, and the All-Star team seven straight season after that, starting in 1971.
The Kansas product would win two titles in 1974 and 1978 with the revamped Celtics, earning a Finals MVP in 1976 and two All-NBA teams before and after that season.
(Frank O’Brien/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
White would play a franchise-record 488 consecutive games without missing one until the 1977-78 season when a heel injury derailed the record and his career.
The former Jayhawk never quite recovered right after that and would be dealt to the Golden State Warriors that season.
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He would retire as a player in 1981 and would have his number retired by Boston the following year.
White would be elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1991, and remained close to the team in various capacities for the remainder of his life, passing in 2018 at age 71.
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Source: Yahoo Sports