TBCB is pleased to announce our first guest poster, Jacob Frankel. Jacob is the author of the NBA blog, the De-Thurmond Analysis, where he breaks down plays and shares his insight and analysis. He currently resides in the NBA-barren state of Hawaii, where he enjoys watching his Golden State Warriors in the mid-afternoon. In this piece, Frankel shares his impressions of former Celtics' guard, and recent addition to the TBCB Hall of Fame, Bob Cousy. While Cousy's name is familiar to long-time basketball fans, many of today's younger fans might not be fully aware of his greatness.
I have many fond memories of my youth, but one of the fondest was attending college basketball games with my father. I had no knowledge of the sport at the time, but after witnessing a couple minutes of a game, there were normally one or two players that stood out. In most cases they, they were athletic, high-motor guys. The Blake Griffins, not the Kevin Loves. Each time they received the ball I would tap my dad on the shoulder, expecting something fast and exciting to happen. When there was a long plodding possession (1. I do not approve of the 35-second shot clock in college, games are just to slow. 2. This was not high-level Division I, so we are talking lots of ugly possessions.), I would shout, as if the team could here me, to get the ball to that guy.
In the beginning it would be, "that guy with the Mohawk," or," number 10." Quickly though, my love of the sport grew and I came to know the player's names and statistics. With this, the element of the first impression seeped out. I knew that one guy was a scrub and had hit a couple lucky shots and that our star was just a little off. In essence, it was knowing the difference between a hot J. R. Smith and a cold Kobe Bryant.
Sometimes though, there was a player that popped out every time you watched him. An exciting fan favorite if nothing else. He was not always perceived as a star, but he was always the one that stood out, bouncing around the court, making big plays. A couple years later he would be forgotten, as his top asset was his play and that was not being seen anymore.
There have been many great point guards over the years, but none are more underappreciated than Bob Cousy. He was a pioneer of the fast break, one of the first basketball tricksters. The six-time champion was a prehistoric cross of Rajon Rondo (horrible jump shooter, averaged over 5 RPG six times, inventive ball fakes), Steve Nash (master of the fast break, never averaged below 7 APG in his prime), and Derrick Rose (innovative finishing ability). He was the first do-everything point guard.
Just recently, I was watching some old 60's Celtics vs. Lakers Finals tape. Some say those 60s Finals were the greatest Finals ever played. There is no doubt that the two teams were stocked with great players.
And who stood out? Not the logo Jerry West or Elgin Baylor, the greatest forward in Lakers history. Not arguably the second best player of all time, Bill Russell or the versatile Tom Heinsohn. No, the player that stood out was Bob Cousy.
He would grab a tough rebound and sprint coast to coast a la Charles Barkley or Magic Johnson. He would sling behind the back passes with abondon and shoot his patented one-handed jump shot. He would steal the ball when the opposition least expected it, leading to a trademark Celtics fast break and more often than not a Bill Russell dunk.
Cousy is that forgotten player. How many people know he won an MVP? How many know that he was the first player to average over 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists in a season? If Russell was the catalyst of the Celtics defense, Cousy was the spark plug of the offense. Too often great players like this are forgotten.
Cousy might not ever be recognized as one of the best players of all time by today's younger fans, but I wish more people knew what kind of player he was. Hopefully you can spare some time to watch the below video.
Now, watch closely and enjoy the magic of number 14.