Skip to main content

Boston Celtics: The Sam Jones-Jimmy Walker-Jalen Rose legacy

Virtually every NBA fan recognizes the name of former Boston Celtics superstar Sam Jones, and most know about former NBA player and current analyst, Jalen Rose. But they may not know about the late Jimmy Walker and his connection to both Sam and Jalen.


Most of the following information is derived from author Marc C. Bodanza's excellent bio of Sam Jones, Ten Times a Champion. Jones noticed budding basketball star, Jimmy Walker, when Jimmy starred at Boston Trade High School while Sam was playing for the Boston Celtics. Jones wanted better things for Walker and paved the way for Jimmy to attend Sam's alma mater, Laurinburg Institute in North Carolina, even paying his tuition.

Walker moved on to Providence College where he played under Coach Joe Mullaney. He had a stellar college career, setting a school record of 2,045 points-scored in three years, a record finally broken by future-Celtic, Ryan Gomes in 2005.

Walker was picked number one overall in the 1967 NBA draft by the Detroit Pistons and had a fine career, earning two appearances in the All-Star game. Jimmy died in 2007 at the age of 63, but not before fathering a son, Jalen Rose, whom he never got to meet. Jimmy left before Jalen's birth. Walker's death came just a month before a scheduled meeting with his son (per Marc C. Bodanza from his book):

Sam (Jones) received a letter from Jimmy Walker only weeks before Walker's death. In the letter, Jimmy described his excitement about the planned meeting with his son. Rose inherited his father's athleticism and basketball talent. Rose and Walker, the only father and son to each score 10,000 points in the NBA, never had a relationship as father and son.

I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Sam Jones and Marc C. Bodanza last year. They are similar in the sense they are both soft-spoken, with no flash or fanfare about them. I watched Sam perform many times at Boston Garden, and he was often a quiet assassin to opponents on the parquet. Marc's writings are simply gems.

In an interview with Sam Jones, I asked if he had been in contact with Rose with information about Jelen's dad. Sam gave me the following answer:

"If he (Jalen Rose) wanted to hear more about his father (Jimmy Walker), I would probably be the best one to speak with. I gave him my phone number, and that's where I left it."

Follow Tom at @CelticsSentinel

Comments

  1. This is the perfect type of off-season article--educating us about a very interesting story that we probably knew nothing about.

    I hope Jalen Rose knows the story--he probably does, but I've learned never to make assumptions, even fairly likely ones--Rose is often unfriendly to the Celtics on the air, in the past acting like a foil for Paul Pierce, among other things, and this might reflect that he knows less than we may assume.

    ReplyDelete
  2. In my interview with Sam a year ago, I asked him whether Jalen had ever contacted him (Sam) about his dad. Jones gave me the following answer:

    On talking to Jalen Rose about his father, Jimmy Walker:

    (Sam): "If he wanted to hear more about his (Jalen's) father, I would probably be the best one to speak with. I gave him my phone number, and that's where I left it."

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Elm Street Nightmare

 A true-and-suspenseful horror tale of haunting, homicides and the hunt for triple-murderer, Daniel Laplante - as told by the cops that were there By Lt. Thomas Lane (Ret.) and Off. Steven Bezanson (Ret.) Daniel Laplante - cold, calm, clever, calculating- Photo: YouTube   Elm Street  surfaces on four occasions in the Laplante saga: 1.) He  resided on Elm Street  in Townsend, Massachusetts 2.) He  kidnapped a woman  at gunpoint on  Elm Street, Pepperell , Massachusetts 3.) He was arrested and transported to Massachusetts State Police Barracks on Elm Street in Concord . 3.) He was  tried, convicted   and sentenced for the murders at  Superior Court , corner of  Elm Stree t and Gorham Street, Lowell, Massachusetts. When evil and cleverness reside in the same mind, the stage is often set for true horror. Such was the case with triple-murderer, Daniel Laplante . As a 16-year old , he quickly transitioned from: Minor thefts and breaking into homes To: Taunting and threatening a father and

Sign the Petition! Let's honor Tommy Heinsohn

  No longtime Celtics fan can watch games this year without a somewhat heavy heart. For the last 50 plus years, we have been blessed as a franchise to have Tommy Heinsohn, Mr. Celtic himself, as a part of the organization. Whether it be as a player, coach, or commentator, Tommy has been an instrumental figure for the green, and his presence is missed on every broadcast. Nobody embodied what it meant to be a Celtic more than Tommy, and I know I miss his energy and ferocity every time Scal claims the refs "made the right call" against the Cs. While Tommy obviously belongs on the Mount Rushmore of Celtics, he is often overlooked in his place among the greats of NBA history. Looking back upon his life, one would be hard pressed to find someone with a bigger impact on NBA basketball than Mr. Celtic. For those who are unfamiliar, let's do a quick review. Tommy is one of 2 people to be inducted into the Hall of Fame as both a player and coach (the other being the indomitable Len

Using trade exception to acquire Aaron Gordon needs consideration

The Orlando Magic's Aaron Gordon was taken fourth-overall in the 2014 NBA draft, two spots before Boston picked Marcus Smart at #6. I felt at the time that Danny Ainge would have taken Gordon with the sixth pick if the 6'8" power forward was still on the board. Well now, with a $28.5 million trade exception in his hands, it may be time to consider adding the super-athletic wing. Here's why: Brad Stevens feels you can't have enough mid-sized wings Brad Stevens does not favor the "little guys" because they often get mis-matched on defense by taller opponents. He also is not fond of the old-school, big centers. In his mind, they just can't be effective on his switching, perimeter defensive strategies. Gordon's salary fits the trade exception Aaron is set to earn $18.1 million this season and $16.4 million in the 2021-22 season. His salary was front-loaded, and that relatively-low $16.1 million figure kicks in when Jayson Tatum's max contract goes