Jo Jo White, one of the best basketball players to ever come out of St. Louis, has died at the age of 71.
Born Joseph Henry White, he was a Boston Celtic through and through. He played there from 1969 to 1979, before joining the Golden State Warriors for just one year. He led the team to two NBA championships, prevailing against the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns in the mid-’70s.
The legend’s daughter, Meka White Morris, told The Undefeated that her father died from pneumonia. He was also suffering from dementia, which was brought on by the removal of a benign brain tumor back in May of 2010.
The Celtics took to Twitter to mourn the legend. The team also released a full statement and posted a short tribute video in his honor.
The team said it was “terribly saddened” by White’s passing, calling him a “champion and a gentleman; supremely talented and brilliant on the court, and endlessly gracious off of it…. His contributions to the team’s championship legacy may have only been surpassed by the deep and lasting impact that he had in the community. The thoughts and sympathies of the entire Celtics organization are with the White family.”
White was a seven-time All-Star and averaged 17.2 points, 4.9 assists, and 4.0 rebounds per game over his 12-year NBA career. Decades later, in 2015, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. The St. Louis native was a highly touted prospect out of Kansas where the Jayhawk was a two-time All American and was named the team’s MVP for three seasons in a row. After college, he joined the rest of Team USA in Mexico City for the summer ’68 Olympics to take home a gold medal.
New Orleans Pelican Rajon Rondo was in Boston Wednesday (January 16) night to face his old former team, and he offered his condolences after the game. “I knew [White] pretty well. He was probably one of my biggest supporters from day one since I got here…. I send my condolences to the White family,” he told ESPN.