The first significant loss of 2018 for the NBA family occurred on Tuesday when Boston Celtics legend Jo Jo White died at age 71. White, a 6-foot-3 point guard, won NBA titles with the Celtics in 1974 and 1976, when he also earned Finals MVP honors.
Jo Jo White (1946-2018) “A very sad day for Celtic Nation as Jo Jo White has passed away.” — Mike Gorman, @Celtics broadcaster https://t.co/L1a0RZwNDp
Whites daughter Meka White Morris told reporters that her dad passed away from pneumonia complications associated from dementia, which was triggered by the removal of a benign brain tumor in May 2010.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of an incredible husband and father,” White’s family said in a statement. “He was a Hall Of Fame basketball player but an even better man. We sincerely appreciate all of the love and continued prayers, but we ask for privacy as we spend time as a family reflecting and celebrating his life.”
White, a seven-time All-Star, averaged 17.2 points, 4.9 assists and 4.0 rebounds over 12 NBA seasons. Had his No. 10 jersey retired to the rafters after a decade of impactful play in Boston and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015. During Whites speech he spoke of his battle with the tumor and expressed gratitude for being alive to deliver his thanks to all of the people who helped him become a superstar.
Jo Jo White delivers his speech upon being enshrined to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2015. To learn more about Jo Jo White take a look at his official Hall of Fame bio at http://www.hoophall.com/hall-of-famers/tag/Jo-Jo-White
The Celtics released a statement on Whites passing.
We are terribly saddened by the passing of the great Jo Jo White. He was a champion and a gentleman; supremely talented and brilliant on the court, and endlessly gracious off of it. Full statement: https://t.co/sYgSvZJu0A
A former two-time All-American at Kansas, No. 9 overall pick in the 1969 draft and three-time Celtics team MVP, White also represented Team USA on its 1968 gold medal winning basketball team in Mexico City.
“Jo Jo White was a legend of our game. Two-time NBA champion, Finals MVP and Olympic gold medalist — a model of consistent excellence and uncommon poise,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “He was a Hall of Fame player and an even bigger legend to countless people he inspired and communities he gave back to, especially in his longtime role as the Celtics’ director of special projects. On behalf of the NBA family, I extend my deepest sympathies to Jo Jo’s family and friends and the Celtics organization.”