Friday, August 15, 2008

HoopTube's Spotlight : Bob Cousy

Bob Cousy: The NBA's First Showman

Get to know Bob Cousy, the NBA's first showman, who won six championships with the Boston Celtics.

Facts you don't need to know:
- He spent his early days playing stickball in a multicultural environment, regularly playing with African Americans, Jews and other children from ethnic minorities.[4] These experiences ingrained him with a strong anti-racist sentiment, an attitude that Cousy prominently featured during his professional career

- He was cut from the school team in his freshman year

- The next year, he was again cut during the tryouts for the school basketball team.

- In that same year, Cousy fell out of a tree and broke his right hand. It forced him to play left-handed until his hand healed, to a point he became effectively ambidextrous

- Cousy was snubbed by Celtics in the NBA draft

- President John F. Kennedy once wired a message to Cousy: "The game bears an indelible stamp of your rare skills and competitive daring."

- His fast-paced playing style was later emulated by the likes of Pete Maravich and Magic Johnson

- In 1950, the Celtics played a match in the then-segregated city of Charlotte, North Carolina, and teammate Chuck Cooper — the first African-American in NBA history to be drafted — would have been denied a hotel room. Instead of taking the hotel room, Cousy insisted on travelling with Cooper on an uncomfortable overnight train. He described their visit of a segregated men's toilet — Cooper was prohibited to use the clean "for whites" bathroom and had to use the shabby "for colored" facility He also sympathized with the plight of black Celtics star Bill Russell, who was frequently a victim of racism

- Cousy was close friends with his Celtics mentor Red Auerbach and was one of the few people who could call him "Arnold" (his real first name) instead of "Red"

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