Jo Jo White Rumors
Celtics legend Jo Jo White and his wife Debbie received a phone call from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on April 1, and for a fleeting moment, they thought it might be a cruel April Fools’ Day joke. White, whose NBA career ended in 1981, had been waiting patiently since then, wondering if people might forget him before he could be remembered forever. But when the Whites realized Hall of Fame president and CEO John Doleva was on the line, they knew this was no prank. “I wanted you to be the first one that I called,” Debbie recalled Doleva saying, “because it is long overdue.”
Kentucky coach John Calipari and four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Dikembe Mutombo are among the finalists for the Basketball Hall of Fame’s 2015 class. The Hall of Fame announced its 2015 nominees Saturday. The Class of 2015 will be announced April 6. Calipari and Mutombo are joined by longtime NBA referee Dick Bavetta, five-time NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway, three-time All-Star Kevin Johnson, three-time WNBA MVP Lisa Leslie, Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan, seven-time All-Star Jo Jo White, four-time All-Star Spencer Haywood, former NBA coach Bill Fitch and high school coaches Robert Hughes and Leta Andrews as finalists.
The Grizzlies will be honoring a trio of former NBA players in Bernard King, Dikembe Mutombo and JoJo White as part of Memphis’ celebration of Martin Luther King Day on Monday. The Grizzlies are hosting their 12th annual celebration day on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday when they play the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday afternoon. King and White will be honored for their work for civil and human rights with the annual National Civil Rights Sports Legacy award. Mutombo, honored in 2007 who could not attend until now, also will take part in events presented by the Grizzlies, the National Civil Rights Museum and both the city of Memphis and Shelby County.
Every time Deborah attended a Celtics game or event without her husband, she was asked, “How’s JoJo?” A little more than two years after the surgery, JoJo White walked on his own to his midcourt seat on June 1, 2012, to see the Celtics beat the Miami Heat 101-91 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals. White has been to every Celtics home game since and is back at his old job, attending community events, taking pictures, signing autographs and visiting with sponsors. “I saw him at media day the other day and he was smiling and looking good and excited about the upcoming season,” Ainge said. “It was good to see JoJo in a real positive place.” White’s recovery is still ongoing, but he also knows he’s fortunate his condition wasn’t worse.