Jo Jo White, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame and a 10-year veteran of the Boston Celtics, has died. He was 71.
The seven-time NBA All-Star, whose full name was Joseph Henry White, had been battling cancer.
“We are terribly saddened by the passing of the great Jo Jo White,” the Celtics said in a statement. “He was a champion and a gentleman; supremely talented and brilliant on the court, and endlessly gracious off of it. Jo Jo was a key member of two championship teams, an NBA Finals MVP, a gold medal-winning Olympian, and a Hall of Famer.
“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,” the team added.
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.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) January 17, 2018
White was one of the key contributors to the Celtics’ 1973-74 and 1975-76 championship titles and made seven straight All-Star teams.
In addition, he was All-Rookie in 1970 and MVP of the 1976 Finals. He averaged 17.2 points, 4.9 assists and 4.0 rebounds in 832 career appearances.
Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, White was drafted out of the University of Kansas with the ninth overall pick in 1969.
Before going pro, he played on the 1968 USA Olympic basketball team in Mexico City, Mexico, which won the gold medal despite many of the top prospects at the time not playing on it.
White finished his 12-season NBA career playing for Golden State and Kansas City before retiring in 1981.
In 2010, he underwent life-threatening surgery to remove a brain tumor, according to ESPN.