Former Kentucky basketball, football star Wah Wah Jones dead at 88

Nikko Villanueva – 4E Sports Contributor

Lexington, KY, United States (4E Sports) – University of Kentucky’s versatile and perhaps greatest athlete for the Wildcats, Wallace “Wah Wah” Jones, died at the age of 88.

Jones played for both UK basketball and football team in the 1940′s and was an All-American in both.

He played under legendary coaches Adolph Rupp (basketball) and Paul “Bear” Bryant (football).

Jones helped UK capture the first two of its eight national titles.

He was the last surviving member of the “Fabulous Five” that won the Olympic gold medal in 1948.

This included center Alex Groza, guards Ralph Beard and Kenny Rollins and forward Cliff Barker.

In football, he played under coach Bryant from 1945-1948.

Jones was then awarded all-Southeastern Conference honors in 1946 and 1948.

While playing football and basketball, he also played for the Wildcats’ track and baseball team.

He is the only athlete in UK history to get his jersey retired in both basketball and football.

Jones is a member of the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame, the University of Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame and the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame.

Kentucky coach John Calipari took to Twitter his sentiment upon the death of the legendary athlete.

“Sad to hear of the passing of arguably the greatest UK athlete, Wah Wah Jones… please join me in praying for both his family and friends. He will be missed.”

Calipari always tried to reach to Jones inviting him to a number of UK’s sporting events.

According to Calipari, he never saw him play but have heard tales of Jones’ greatness since he was a toddler.

Mitch Barnhart, UK athletics director, stated Jones significance in Wildcats athletic history and legacy.

“The word `legend’ is used frequently in our society but it is truly fitting when considering Wah Wah Jones,” Barnhart added.

Jones played pro-ball for the Indianapolis Olympians (1949-1952) before settling down to become a sheriff.

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