The Press Pass: Bob Cousy 6-5-20

Bob Cousy Has Something in Common with LeBron James.

Cousy Was the Highest Paid Player in the NBA in 1963 at $35,000.

James Is Today’s Highest Paid Player in the NBA at $37.4 million.

In an interview with WKXL’s Chris Ryan, legendary star of the Boston Celtics, Bob Cousy brings us back to the early days of the NBA. A regular season Celtics game would attract about 8,500 fans, but it would fill up for playoff games. During his career, there were only 8 or 10 teams in the league because some of the teams would fold, and basketball was the weakest of the major sports.

Bob Cousy introduced the behind the back and no look pass, fancy dribbling, and he added such an artistic flair to the game that he was known as “The Houdini of the Hardwood”. He stood 6’1” and was gifted with big hands, long arms, and exceptional peripheral vision. During his 13-year NBA career, Cousy averaged over 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 7.5 assists per game. Bob Cousy is 91 and has had a very distinguished career as a basketball player and coach. He played on six NBA Championship teams, was a 13 time NBA All Star, won the MVP in 1957, led the league in assists 8 times, was an All American and NCAA Champion at Holy Cross, is a Basketball Hall of Fame member, his #14 hangs from the rafters at the Garden, and he even won the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Despite all of his accomplishments, Bob Cousy describes himself as being somewhat of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In his private life and off the court, Cousy is a very calm and conservative guy. When he stepped on the court, his inner showman took over. He credits his college coach and his Celtics Coach Red Auerbach (Bob Cousy always refers to him as Arnold) with giving him the freedom to do the creative moves and passes which he invented. Cousy laughs that there are twelve-year-old kids doing those moves today with much more skill and panache than he had back in the 1950s.

The Boston Celtic teams of Bob Cousy’s era won 11 out of 13 championships. According to “The Cooz”, his other nickname is “Mr. Basketball”, this is a feat that will never be accomplished by any other team in any other sport. Bob Cousy disputes the critics who dismiss this accomplishment because the NBA was so small back then. He points out that the talent in the league was so concentrated in that era that there was little difference between the first and last place teams. It was a long season with 20 exhibition games thrown in, but the Celtic team was composed of very competitive individuals who were coached by Arnold “Red” Auerbach, a master at motivation. Bob Cousy also describes the unique steps that he would take to fire himself up for a playoff series.
Basketball is a game that Bob Cousy helped to build as a popular team sport, and he enthusiastically explains why it has risen to be the second most popular sport in the world. He hopes that it will overtake soccer in his lifetime.