Steve “Snapper” Jones, a longtime NBA analyst and former Portland Trail Blazer, died Saturday after reportedly battling a lengthy illness. He was 75.
Known as much for his work on the sidelines as his performances between them, Jones was a staple of the NBA on NBC broadcasts during the the 1990s when the show was setting ratings records.
The NBA family mourns the passing of Steve "Snapper" Jones – former Portland Trail Blazer, ABA All-Star and one of the NBA's all-time great TV analysts. We send our deepest condolences to his family and many friends. – Adam Silver
— NBA (@NBA) November 26, 2017
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) November 26, 2017
— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) November 26, 2017
Jones grew up in Oregon and saw his basketball career begin to flourish in the early 1970s, first in the ABA with then back home with the Blazers for the 1975-76 season. A three-time ABA all-star, Jones averaged 16 points, 2.3 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game during stints with the Oakland Oaks, New Orleans Buccaneers, Memphis Pros, Dallas Chaparrals, Denver Rockets and Spirits of St. Louis.
In one season with Portland he averaged 6.5 points per game in a limited role.
Jones’ broadcasting career took off right as his playing days ended. In 1976 he became an analyst for CBS coverage of the Blazers before joining NBC for 13 seasons. Often paired with Bill Walton, Jones’ broadcasts rivaled the entertainment level of the games he was calling.
He later joined NBA TV in the same role.
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