THE BOB COUSY COLLECTION
SCP Auctions was honored and privileged to offer “The Bob Cousy Collection” at auction November 20th, 2003.
“The Houdini of the Hardwood”, “Mr. Basketball”, “The Cooz.”
Bob Cousy, one of the greatest passers and playmakers in NBA history, was flashy before flashy was cool. He was the original “Human Highlight Film.” He was magical before there was “Magic.” Benched early in his college career because his coach didn’t like his revolutionary, razzle-dazzle style. Cousy went on to help build the Boston Celtics of the 1950s and 1960s into basketball’s most enduring dynasty. Cousy was the heart and soul of a team of stars that featured Bill Russell, Tommy Heinsohn, K.C. Jones, Bill Sharman, and Satch Sanders. He played in 13 straight NBA All-Star Games and earned six NBA championship rings. He led the league in assists eight consecutive seasons and consistently ranked near the top in scoring and free-throw percentage. His skills and instincts graced the game a generation before their time. In 1960, after admiring his play for a decade, former New York Knicks Coach Joe Lapchick called Cousy the best player of all time. After Cousy retired, Celtics owner Walter Brown told a Boston newspaper that “the Celtics wouldn’t be here without him. If he had played in New York, he would have been as big as Babe Ruth. I think he is anyway.”
Cousy was the ultimate point guard, the engine that propelled the team. At full speed he could see the whole court and spot the open man – even if that player was trailing behind. The league had never seen a player with sharper peripheral vision. His repertoire of passes; no-lookers, spinning dishes, behind-the-back feeds and half-court rocket shots predated those of Earvin “Magic” Johnson by three decades. An amazing dribbler, Cousy could keep the ball away from defenders long enough to allow plays to develop. And when no one could get open, he’d burn opponents with outside shots or slashing drives of his own.
At age 35, Cousy retired as a player. Even his final moments on the court were spent basking in Celtics glory. His last regular-season game became known as “the Boston Tear Party.” Cousy was rendered speechless by emotion during a 20-minute farewell statement that was supposed to last only seven minutes. President John Kennedy wired to Cousy: “The game bears an indelible stamp of your rare skills and competitive daring.” Cousy left the Celtics with 16,955 points (18.5 pg), 6,945 assists (7.6pg) and an .803 free-throw percentage in 917 games. In 109 playoff games he averaged 18.5 points and 8.6 assists. He was subsequently named to the NBA’s 25th, 35th and 50th Anniversary Teams.
One writer said of Cousy: “People have little doubt that while Dr. Naismith may have invented the game. Cousy made it as close to an art form as possible.”