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100 days of Kansas City-area Olympians: Jo-Jo White, basketball

Jo-Jo White mug.jpg
Posted at 9:15 AM, Jul 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-18 10:15:05-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Former University of Kansas star Jo-Jo White averaged 11.7 points for the U.S. men’s basketball team at the 1968 Mexico City Games, helping the U.S. claim a seventh straight gold medal.

White scored a team-high 24 points in a pool-play win against Yugoslavia and a team-high 16 against Brazil in the semifinals.

In a rematch against Yugoslavia in the Olympic final, White scored 14 as the U.S. pulled away after halftime to win 65-50.

White, a St. Louis native, was a two-time All-American for the Jayhawks in 1968 and 1969.

Jo Jo White, Dean Foster
Kansas University's JoJo White, right, puts on a burst of speed to get around Cincinnati's Dean Foster (31) in their game in the annual Sunflower double header in Lawrence, Kansas, Dec. 15, 1967.

He helped lead KU to the NCAA Tournament as a freshman and sophomore.

The Jayhawks reached the NIT championship game led by White in 1968 and made another NIT appearance in 1969, when he averaged a career-high 18.1 points and 4.7 rebounds.

Overall, White averaged 15.3 points and 4.9 rebounds in 84 career games for KU, which retired his jersey in 2003.

White reached even greater heights with the Boston Celtics, making the NBA All-Rookie Team in 1970 and appearing in the All-Star Game each of the next seven seasons.

Obit Jo Jo White Basketball
FILE - In this Dec. 30, 1977 file photo, Jo Jo White, left, of Boston Celtics, drives past Chicago Bulls' Wilbur Holland (12) during an NBA basketball game in Chicago. Basketball Hall of Famer Jo Jo White, a two-time NBA champion with the Boston Celtics and an Olympic gold medalist, has died. He was 71. The Celtics announced his death Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. No cause was provided.

He helped the Celtics win two NBA titles, averaging 18.4 points with 5.1 assists and 4.3 rebounds in 10 seasons and also setting a franchise record with 488 consecutive games played.

The Celtics retired White’s No. 10 during a ceremony in 1982.

He closed out his career playing two seasons with the Golden State Warriors and one with the Kansas City Kings.

White was inducted in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015 and also has been inducted into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.

Jo Jo White, Dave Cowens
Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Jo Jo White pauses to acknowledge applause during the enshrinement ceremony for the Class of 2015 of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. At right is White's Boston Celtics teammate, Hall of Famer Dave Cowens.

He also has been inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 1991 and the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.

The Kansas City region has a deep, rich history with respect to the Olympic Games. As the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games approach with the Opening Ceremony scheduled for July 23, we will profile an athlete with ties to Kansas City, Missouri or Kansas each day.

41 Action News and KSHB.com is your home of the Tokyo Olympics. Follow our coverage at kshb.com/sports/olympics and check out our complete list of 100 Kansas City-area Olympians as it is revealed.

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