Ranking the 50 greatest NBA players of all time

The Last Dance, Michael Jordan, LeBron James (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
The Last Dance, Michael Jordan, LeBron James (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images /

48. Sam Jones

  • Resume: 12 seasons, 10 NBA championships, 3-time All-NBA selection, 5-time NBA All-Star, Hall-of-Famer
  • Stats: 17.7 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 2.5 APG, .456/—/.803 shooting splits, 18.7 career PER, 92.3 win shares

Looking at the simple numbers, Sam Jones doesn’t exactly jump off the page…until you get to his eye-popping 10 NBA championships, that is. Yet for some reason, only the oldest and/or most knowledgeable basketball fans know who Sam Jones even is.

How is it possible the guy with the second-most rings in NBA history has slipped through the cracks when we talk about the all-time great winners? Was he overshadowed by Bill Russell? Are all these millennials Gen Z kids running around just ignorant? Or is it because with a common name like “Sam Jones,” he might as well have been named John Smith or Muhammad?

It’s a little mind-bottling how many people don’t recognize Jones’ place among the all-time greats, especially because in a culture that constantly focuses on how “clutch” a player is, he was one of the all-time winners in that category. Nicknamed “The Shooter” for his perfect jump shot and knack for clutch scoring, Jones was also a great rebounder for his position at shooting guard.

The list of game-winners and clutch playoff performances with the Boston Celtics is too long to list here, but suffice it to say that Sam Jones was up there with Jerry West in the conversation of “first clutch players in NBA history.” Forget Mike Jones. I bet just as many people have asked “Who?” about Sam Jones, and it’s time we change that.