The Boston Celtics have had a lot of great players come through their organization. One of those players was Jo Jo White. White spent his first 10 years playing for the Celtics, and he had a lot of success.
The Hall of Fame point guard played 12 seasons in the league, and when he died in 2018, that was a shocking blow to the Celtics organization.
Jo Jo White immediately had an impact on the Boston Celtics
White enjoyed a successful college career playing at the University of Kansas. The Celtics drafted him in the first round of the 1969 NBA draft. When the Celtics drafted White, the team was coming off their 11th championship in 13 years. White had the opportunity to come into the league and play for one of the best teams. As a rookie, White competed at a high-level averaging 12.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game.
After his first season, White would establish himself as one of the top guards in the league. He made his first All-Star team during his second NBA season, and he finished the 1970-71 season, averaging 21.3 points, five rebounds, and 4.8 assists. White made seven straight All-Star teams after his rookie season.
He was also a part of two NBA championship teams during his time with the Celtics. White was named NBA Finals MVP in 1976 when he averaged 21.7 points, 5.8 assists, and 4.3 rebounds as the Celtics defeated the Phoenix Suns. The 6-foot-3 point guard improved his game each season, and the Celtics made the right move to get White. After a successful career with the Celtics, White finished his career playing for the Golden State Warriors and the Kansas City Kings.
Jo Jo White’s career after basketball
White retired from the NBA in 1981. He returned to his college alma mater, where he served as an assistant coach from 1982 to 1983. The Celtics decided to retire White’s No. 10 jersey in 1982, and it was a special ceremony. In 2015, White was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Not only was White inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, but he was also inducted into multiple Hall of Fame classes. White was inducted into the Missouri Hall of Fame, the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, the Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame, and the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame. Many people recognized the successful career that White had. Outside of basketball White appeared in two movies with small roles.
The tragic death of Jo Jo White
In 2010, White had a procedure done to remove a tumor on the back of his brain. Two years later, he started the Jo Jo White Foundation to support brain cancer research. White wanted to do everything he could to help doctors find ways to tackle cancer.
In 2018, White died in Boston from complications of dementia and pneumonia, which came about when he had a brain tumor removed. He was 71 when he passed. The Celtics honored White’s death by wearing a black stripe on their jersey for the remainder of the 2017-18 season. White was one of the best to wear the green and white, and he impacted the team in many ways.