Caldwell Jones was a key member of the Philadelphia 76ers teams that reached the NBA Finals in 1977, 1980 and 1982. The 6-foot-11 center was a rugged defender and named to the NBA All-Defensive first team in 1981 and 1982.
Caldwell died Sunday after suffering a heart attack on a suburban Atlanta golf course. He was 64.
“Caldwell was a special person and was taken from us too early,” former Sixers player and coach Billy Cunningham told the National Basketball Retired Players Association, which announced his death. “He epitomized what a ‘team player’ was meant to be and didn’t care if he scored a point as long as we won.”
Jones was drafted by the 76ers out of Albany State. In his 17-year career, he averaged 7.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. He also played for the Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls, Portland Trail Blazers and San Antonio Spurs.
The 76ers released the following statement:
“We are truly saddened to learn of the passing of a special member of the Sixers family, Caldwell Jones. He was a consummate teammate, a friend to many and a player who was beloved and respected throughout the league. Our franchise and fans will always remember the impact and contributions Caldwell made to the city of Philadelphia.
“On behalf of our entire organization, we extend our deepest condolences to the entire Jones family during this difficult time.”
After spending six years with Philadelphia, Jones was part of the package of players that the 76ers put together to acquire Moses Malone from Houston after the 1982 season. The Sixers won the title in 1983.
Jones had three brothers — Will, Major and Charles — who also made it to the NBA.
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