Jo Jo White Enshrined in Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Two-time Kansas men’s basketball All-American and seven-time NBA All-Star Jo Jo White joined the best of the best among his life’s work on Friday. White was one of 11 individuals inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s class of 2015 at the Springfield Symphony Hall.
With his college head coach Ted Owens and other Jayhawk colleagues in attendance, White was presented by his former Boston Celtics teammate Dave Cowens who was inducted into the Hall in 1991.
“I always tried to be the best,” White said during his induction speech. “I had two great mentors at Kansas: Ted Owens and Sam Miranda. I love you. I’ve had so many wonderful teammates and I want to thank them all.”
White donned the Crimson and Blue from 1966-69 under the direction of head coach Ted Owens. An All-America selection in 1968 and 1969, White was a three-time All-Big Eight Conference honoree and KU’s Most Valuable Player for three-straight seasons. The Saint Louis native scored 1,286 career points, which still ranks 29th all-time at Kansas.
His four years at KU saw the Jayhawks win two Big Eight Championships, three Big Eight Holiday Tournaments, make two NCAA Tournament appearances and finish runner-up in the NIT. He was a member of the 1968 Gold Medal USA Olympic basketball team and played 11 seasons in the NBA.
Drafted by Boston with the ninth overall pick in 1969, White led the Celtics to NBA Championships in 1974 and 1976, where in the latter he was named NBA Finals MVP. A seven-time NBA All-Star, he averaged 18.3 points per game in his 10-year Celtics career, shooting 42.2 percent from the field and 83.3 percent from the free throw line, while he averaged 21.5 points per game in 80 playoff games.
A major impact at the collegiate and professional levels, White’s No. 10 was retired by the Celtics in 1982, one of 21 numbers that hang in the TD Garden rafters. His Kansas jersey was officially retired on Jan. 27, 2003.
Along with White, other Naismith Hall of Fame Class of 2015 inductees included: Dick Bavetta, former KU assistant coach John Calipari, Louis Dampier, Lindsay Gaze, Spencer Haywood, Tom Heinsohn, John Isaacs, Lisa Leslie, Dikembe Mutombo and George Raveling.
White marks the 18th Jayhawk all-time to be enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is named in honor of the game’s inventor and KU’s first head coach, Dr. James Naismith.
Kansas was well represented at the Hall of Fame ceremonies. Current head coach Bill Self received the 2015 Mannie Jackson – Basketball’s Human Spirit Award Thursday evening. Besides Owens being in attendance, Calipari was presented by former KU head coach and Hall of Famer Larry Brown. KU women’s basketball legend Lynette Woodard, a Hall member, was also one of the presenters for inductee Lisa Leslie and Brown also presented Lindsay Gaze.
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