Celtics legend K.C. Jones coming to Pittsfield

Sunday, March 29
PITTSFIELD — Normally the Boston Celtics captivate Berkshire County through the television screen.

Come Thursday, locals can get a look at a real live Celtic.

K.C. Jones, a former player and coach with the Celtics and an inductee to the Professional Basketball Hall of Fame, will be speaking at Berkshire Hills Country Club on Thursday night as part of a fundraiser for the Pittsfield Public Schools Athletic Department and Pittsfield Hoop Club scholarship fund.

"The guy won back-to-back NCAA Championships, a gold medal, eight titles as a player and two more as a coach," said Pittsfield Schools athletic director Jim Abel, who put the event together. "There's not too many times a guy like that comes to Berkshire County."

Abel put the event together using contacts he'd made during a previous job working at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield. When Abel worked there in the Hall's marketing department, Jones developed a reputation as a reliable and enjoyable speaker that was a regular at many of the Hall of Fame's events.

Jones has a reputation for being personable, Abel said, often taking time to mingle with guests after he finished speeches.

Abel expects Jones to reminisce about his time as a player, which included time running alongside Bill Russell, Bob Cousy and John Havlichek, and coaching Boston's original "Big Three" of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish. Abel said he suspected Jones could also discuss trips to Lenox when he was a player, when the Celtics regularly played the Lenox Merchants, a semi-professional basketball team.

"I was talking to someone the other day, and they mentioned that you could interest three generations," Abel said. "The grandfather watched him play, the son watched him coach and the grandson would be into the Celtics now with the latest version of The Big Three."

Jones played nine seasons with the Celtics, winning NBA championships in eight of them, starting in 1958-59 and finishing in 1966-67. He won two NCAA titles at San Francisco, alongside Russell, and coached Boston from 1983 to 1988.

Jones' legacy, like many of that era's Celtics, was winning. Jones' average of 7.4 points per game is the lowest of any Hall of Famer, but he was feared for his tough defense and contributed offensively as an excellent passer, finishing in the league's top 10 in assists on four different occasions.

Abel said the $2,000 appearance fee, plus the money to hire a caterer, came out of his budget and based on current ticket sales, a worst-case scenario leave him with a break-even event that should provide entertainment. Jones lowered his appearance fee significantly because the event was a fundraiser to benefit young athletes, Abel said.

Any profits will be split down the middle between the athletic department and the Hoop Club.

"Since I've started here, I envisioned putting an event like this together," Abel said. "I wanted to put something together that created an event for the community that showcased athletes and created entertainment."

To reach Chris Carlson: ccarlson@berkshireeagle.com, (413) 496-6251.


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