Wali Jones is one of the city’s greatest basketball players. Jones was a big time player at Overbrook High School and Villanova, along with being a key member of the 1966–67 Philadelphia 76ers NBA championship team.
The sharpshooting guard will be recognized for his basketball exploits. Jones will be inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame. The ninth induction class was announced on Thursday, July 19 at a press conference. The ceremony will take place on November 8 at the Society Hill Sheraton, 1 Dock Street.
“I’ll be there,” Jones said. “This is a real honor for me. It’s great to be inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame. They have a lot of great people in their hall of fame like Wilt (Chamberlain) and Billy (Cunningham) who were my teammates with the Philadelphia 76ers championship team.
“I’m going in with some special people like Doug Collins (Sixers coach). Doug and I played together for a year with the Sixers. I know Debbie Black who played at St. Joe’s and in the WNBA. Harold Johnson was a great fighter. Johnny Callison played for the Phillies. Mike Piazza was a great baseball player, too. So, this is really something for me.”
Jones had quite a basketball career. He led Overbrook High to two Public League championships in 1958 and 1959. He played with some great players like the late Walt Hazzard, Ralph Heyward and Wayne Hightower.
The former Public League star played some great basketball at Villanova. He shared the Geasey Awards as Big 5 MVP (1963 and ’64) with Jim Lynam and Steve Courtin, respectively. He was named to the NCAA tournament’s All-East Region team. He finished his college career with 1,428 points. He is a member of the Big 5 Hall of Fame.
Jones played 10 seasons in the NBA with the Baltimore Bullets, Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks and Detroit Pistons. Jones was a starter on the Sixers championship team, which included Chamberlain, Cunningham, Chet Walker, Hal Greer and Luke Jackson. Jones also played one season with the ABA’s Utah Stars.
For more than 20 years, he worked in community relations with the Miami Heat. He still does basketball clinics for kids around the country. Every year he has the Little Bobby Jones Memorial Basketball Clinic at the Carousel House in Fairmount Park. The Phoenix Club of Philadelphia presents high school basketball awards on an annual basis to some of the area’s top players. The club established the Phoenix Award College Player of the Year in honor of Wali Jones. Michael G. Horsey, who organized the Phoenix Awards, started this award in 2011.
“I really appreciate all these things,” Jones said. “I had a great time at the Phoenix Awards. Mike Horsey does a wonderful job with the high school basketball awards. We had another good year with the Bobby Jones Memorial Basketball Clinic. It’s nice to be recognized by so many good people. I’m looking forward to the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame. I’m sure I’ll see a lot of people from Philly there. It should be a wonderful event.”