Jo Jo White, Celtics great and NBA Hall of Famer, dies at 71

BOSTON -- Celtics legend Jo Jo White, a two-time NBA champion and Finals MVP, died Tuesday at age 71.

"My dad died from complications (pneumonia) from dementia that was brought on by the removal of a benign brain tumor in May 2010," his daughter, Meka White Morris, told The Undefeated.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of an incredible husband and father," White's family said in a statement. "He was a Hall Of Fame basketball player but an even better man. We sincerely appreciate all of the love and continued prayers, but we ask for privacy as we spend time as a family reflecting and celebrating his life."

White, a seven-time All-Star, averaged 17.2 points, 4.9 assists and 4.0 rebounds over 12 NBA seasons. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015.

"We are terribly saddened by the passing of the great Jo Jo White," the Celtics said in a statement announcing White's passing. "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."

White won a gold medal with the USA Olympic basketball team at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. The Celtics drafted him with the ninth overall pick in the 1969 draft out of Kansas.

While with the Jayhawks, White was a two-time All-American and was named the team's MVP for three consecutive seasons.

White, a 6-foot-3 point guard, won NBA titles with the Celtics in 1974 and 1976, earning Finals MVP honors in the latter. His No. 10 jersey was retired by Boston on April 9, 1982.

"Jo Jo White was a legend of our game. Two-time NBA champion, Finals MVP and Olympic gold medalist -- a model of consistent excellence and uncommon poise," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. "He was a Hall of Fame player and an even bigger legend to countless people he inspired and communities he gave back to, especially in his longtime role as the Celtics' director of special projects. On behalf of the NBA family, I extend my deepest sympathies to Jo Jo's family and friends and the Celtics organization."

Former Boston guard Rajon Rondo, whose New Orleans Pelicans were in town to face the Celtics on Tuesday night, said White was one of the Celtics legends who made him feel most welcome during his time with the team.

"I knew [White] pretty well. He was probably one of my biggest supporters from day one since I got here," Rondo said after his team's 116-113 win. "He always supported me. He always gave me great advice and his family, his wife, was very kind to me as well. I send my condolences to the White family."

White underwent life-threatening surgery to remove a brain tumor in 2010. With many vocal supporters, he earned induction into the Hall of Fame after a long wait in 2015 and gave a moving speech as part of the induction week where he reveled in the honor.

After 10 seasons in Boston, where he remains 10th on the franchise's all-time scoring list and holds the Celtics record with 488 consecutive games played, White finished his 12-season NBA career playing for Golden State and Kansas City.