Bob Cousy Rumors

Bob Cousy: Hassan Whiteside first player to remind me of Bill Russell

Cousy lives in Worcester during the summer, but he winters in Florida so he watches his share of Heat games on television and he was impressed when Whiteside came off the bench to record a triple-double on Jan. 25 against the Bulls with 14 points, 13 rebounds and a franchise-record 12 blocks. “I have never said this in the 40 years since I retired,” Cousy said in a recent telephone interview, “but he is the first big guy, not (Patrick) Ewing, (Hakeem) Olajuwon, Shaq (O’Neal), who reminds me defensively and on the boards of Russell. He runs the floor well, he has excellent timing, he blocks shots and keeps them in play the way Russell did.”
“Guys like Rondo come along only every 20 years,” Cousy said. “So I would do everything I could to keep him.” Rondo’s contract expires at the end of the season, and he said that he’d like to remain in Boston, but there’s no guarantee of that, especially if the Celtics post another losing season and another team offers him a maximum contract. So Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge will have to decide before the February trading deadline if he should deal him. “Obviously,” Cousy said, “you don’t want to lose a talent like that and get nothing for him. I’m a big Ainge fan. I think Danny has done an excellent job since he’s been there. He’s a hard worker, he’s a good guy, he’s smart. If he really thinks he’s going, then sure try to salvage something.”
Bob Cousy has done his best to fight back his tears since the death of his beloved wife, Missie, at age 85 last September. “I still have my bad moments,” the Celtics great said last week from his Salisbury Street home. “I do well for a couple of weeks and then I start bawling again.” A little more than a month after Missie’s death from a stroke, Cousy made his annual two-day drive to West Palm Beach, Fla., for the winter, but for the first time he did it alone. After driving back to Worcester with his daughter Ticia and arriving at his home Sunday afternoon, Cousy broke down in tears again. “I’m an emotional person anyway. The first 30 years I wasn’t much of a husband,” said Cousy, who traveled a lot earlier in his marriage, first while helping the Celtics win six NBA championships in his 13 seasons and later as a coach, “but the last 33 years I paid attention and we had a very close relationship. I didn’t expect it (her death). Frankly, I thought I’d go first.”
No. 14 is Cousy’s retired number with the Celtics. “With every day that goes by,” Cousy said, “I go longer and longer without getting weepy about it (Missie’s death), but I can’t control it. I don’t know when it’s going to happen. That’s why I have become pretty much a recluse.” Cousy is not looking for sympathy. “Everybody has lost loved ones,” he said, “and people who are close to them. I certainly don’t want to be out there being looked upon as a victim. So the best way to avoid that is to not go out. I’ve always been that way when I’m hurting. Let me grieve by myself. Let me crawl in my hole and deal with it.”
I asked Cousy what it was like making the transition from point guard to coach. “For whatever reason, as point guards we’re supposed to be the extension of the coach on the floor, and therefore it makes sense that you’re a natural to make that transition,” he replied. “To some people, that’s true, but I think it oversimplifies it. Perhaps it prepares you a little bit better, maybe as a point guard you’re geared in terms of thinking about five people, as opposed to just worrying about yourself and your own responsibilities. But you also have to have the other qualities: being able to interact with other people, being able to teach in an unselfish way and requiring the feedback that you need as a leader in order to motivate them properly.”
Bob Cousy, point guard emeritus of the Boston Celtics, agrees that his old team has its share of problems. He just doesn’t count Rajon Rondo among them. Cousy believes Celtics GM Danny Ainge would be making a big mistake if he trades Rondo by the March 15 deadline. “I’m out of the loop, but boy, unless he’s a serial killer on the side I wouldn’t let this kid go,” Cousy said by phone. “I don’t know where you’d find a better point guard.”
Rubio inspired another opposing crowd — and even other teams’ advance scouts sitting courtside — with his array of passes that included an alley-oop to Wes Johnson for a slam dunk and a nifty behind-the-back pass to Derrick Williams for a layup. Rubio already has been compared to everybody from Pete Maravich to former Boston Celtics great Bob Cousy, who played in the 1950s. Such a comparison has left at least a few people confused. “I didn’t watch Cousy play,” said New Orleans coach Monty Williams, “and when I see those highlights, I still don’t know which one he is.”
The total sale was announced as making $455,641, and Cousy said a later sale pushed the gross total to about $500,000. He said the auction house got 12 percent and the tax man about 20 percent, which led to him giving his two daughters about $160,000 apiece. “I have two daughters who are in education,’’ Cousy said of why he sold the items and referring to daughters Marie Collette Cousy and Mary Patricia Cousy not making high salaries. “And I’ve never been a yesterday person. I don’t dwell in the past. . . . Most of this stuff was just sitting in the cellar.’’ Still, Cousy admits it was a bit tough parting with his MVP trophy. “Yeah, that was,’’ Cousy said. “I was the first point guard to win the MVP. The MVP trophy was my favorite. . . . But if somebody had told me back then that all of this stuff (Cousy sold) was one day going to be worth all this money, I would have said, ‘Take him away. He’s loony.’’’
“Our approach 50 years ago was we knew there were six or eight owners who were in danger, most of them not making any money,” said Cousy, who remembers it was “like pulling teeth” getting players to pay their $10 annual union dues. “And we knew six or eight owners were willing to put up their money that allowed us to play a child’s game and earn a pretty good living as opposed to selling insurance like everyone else. So when we started the union in this league, our demands were very modest.”
But the Hall of Fame point guard still sees some similarities between the NBA of his day and today’s league, embroiled in a lockout that has led to the first two weeks of the regular season being canceled. And surprisingly, what Cousy sees now leads him to actually gravitate toward management. “If all the information I read in the newspapers is accurate, I think in this case I would lean on the side of management,” said Cousy, retired in Worchester, Mass., and one of five Hall of Famers whom FOX Sports interviewed regarding the lockout. “If 22 teams are losing money,” as commissioner David Stern has said.
The league’s minimum salary for a player with 10 or more years of service time is now $1.399 million. Cousy admits he’s not as versed on labor issues as he once was, but he is not necessarily bitter about the escalating salaries and the security players have procured over the past five decades. “I’m not familiar with all the issues so it’s hard to take sides,’’ Cousy said last week. “But we’ve made a great life from playing a child’s game. I said all along that the football thing would be settled quickly because there was $9 billion on the table, and if you can’t split that up without coming to blows then there’s something wrong. So it’s always a little greed that takes hold here.’’