Bobby Jones, a standout on Dean Smith’s Tar Heel teams in the early 1970s and one of the NBA’s greatest defensive players, is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2019.
Jones is the seventh former Carolina player and 11th Tar Heel overall to be elected to the Naismith Hall of Fame, joining Ben Carnevale (1970), Frank McGuire (1977), Dean Smith (1983), Billy Cunningham (1986), Bob McAdoo (2000), Larry Brown (2002), James Worthy (2003), Roy Williams (2007), Michael Jordan (2009) and Charlie Scott (2018).
The Charlotte native (South Mecklenburg High School) earned first-team All-America and All-ACC honors in 1974, when he starred in Carolina’s famous comeback win against Duke as the Tar Heels rallied for eight points in the final 17 seconds to send the game to overtime. Jones scored four of Carolina’s eight points to tie the game and finished with 24 points in Carolina’s 96-92 victory. Earlier that season, he stole an inbounds pass and hit a layup at the buzzer to beat the Blue Devils in Durham, 73-71.
Jones set an ACC single-season record in 1972 by shooting 66.8 percent from the floor, one of three seasons in which he led the league in field goal percentage. He is one of two players in ACC history (and the most recent) to lead the conference in field goal percentage in three consecutive seasons.
He made the 1972 U.S. Olympic team as a sophomore. The U.S. team lost a controversial game for the gold medal against the Soviet Union in Munich, Germany.
Jones began his professional career in the ABA with the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets joined the NBA in his third season (1976-77). He was an ABA all-star in 1976, an NBA all-star with Denver in 1977, and an NBA all-star as a Philadelphia 76er three times, in 1978, 1981 and 1982.
Jones made 10 consecutive first-team all-defensive teams — in 1975 and 1976 in the ABA and 1977-84 in the NBA. He was the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year in 1983, when he teamed with Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Andrew Toney and Mo Cheeks to beat the LA Lakers for the NBA championship. He averaged 12 points in the 76ers’ four-game sweep in the 1983 NBA Finals and had 13 points and four steals in Game 4 to clinch the title.
Jones played for fellow Carolina Hall of Famers Larry Brown in Denver and Billy Cunningham with the 76ers.
He twice led the ABA in field goal percentage and led the NBA in field goal percentage in 1978. He holds the ABA’s career field goal percentage record at 59.2 percent.
His No. 24 is retired by the 76ers. Jones is one of six players whom the 76ers have honored with statues in front of the team’s practice facility in Camden, New Jersey, along with Wilt Chamberlain, Erving, Cunningham, Cheeks and Hal Greer. Jones’ statue depicts him diving for a loose ball