Synopses & Reviews
Bob Cousy is one of the greatest figures in American sports history. He was a first-team All-NBA player ten years in a row, the MVP of the 1957 season. He led the NBA in assists for eight straight years. He played in six NBA championships with the Boston Celtics. In a sense, he was the first modern player and flashy playmaker, the first improviser, the first player to look inside the boundaries of a basketball court and see endless possibilities -- jazz musician as point guard. To teammates, coaches, and opponents, he was the greatest basketball player of all time. But to millions of fans, he was simply "Cooz."
In Cousy: His Life, Career, and the Birth of Big-Time Basketball, veteran sportswriter Bill Reynolds -- with the full cooperation of Bob Cousy -- reveals the man often called "the Babe Ruth of basketball," the dazzling athlete who brought "showtime basketball" to the NBA and changed the game forever. Bob Cousy, the originator of the behind-the-back dribble and the no-look pass, joined the Boston Celtics in 1950, when the fledgling NBA was still competing with rodeo and professional wrestling for column inches in the sports pages. When Cousy retired thirteen years later, the NBA had joined baseball and football as a premier American entertainment. This absorbing portrait not only recounts Cousy's record-breaking career but also reveals the superstar's little-known personal life -- from his impoverished childhood in New York City, when he was ironically cut from his high school basketball team in both his freshman and sophomore years, to his eventful life after his playing career, when he coached Boston College and the Cincinnati Royal in the NBA. Readers will discover the mind of a man so tortured by the fear of failure that he had recurring nightmares, walked in his sleep, and developed a nervous tic.
Before Jerry West and Oscar Robertson, before Kareem and Dr. J., before the Lakers brought showtime basketball to the national stage, the Celtics dominated the NBA for more than a decade. And Cousy was the team's biggest star. As Reynolds examines the inner workings of a truly one-of-a-kind athlete, Cousy: His Life, Career, and the Birth of Big-Time Basketball examines as never before an era of basketball largely unknown to modern fans, with portraits of many of the NBA's vintage superstars, such as Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, and Elgin Baylor, as well as perhaps the greatest basketball coach of all time -- the Boston Celtics' Red Auerbach.
"Nicknamed the 'Houdini of the Hardwood' by sportswriters during the 1950s, Bob Cousy was basketball's 'first genuine superstar,' as Providence Journal columnist Reynolds shows in this insightful, well-written biography. Cousy became a Hall of Fame member for originating such NBA staples as the behind-the-back dribble and the no-look pass, but most importantly because his enormous talent made the Boston Celtics the dominant team of the 1960s. Excellent chapters on Cousy's pro career explore his interactions with basketball legends like the gruff Celtics coach Red Auerbach and Bill Russell, the brilliant and enigmatic Celtics center who endured years of racism from many of the same Boston fans who cheered Cousy. Reynolds does a remarkable job illuminating the sport's early days in the 1940s, when three-time All-American Cousy became one of the biggest names in college hoops, and the NBA's first gritty years. But the book's best parts are those in which Reynolds illuminates how Cousy's impoverished 1930s youth in a Manhattan tenement and the constant tension between his parents created in him a drive to succeed that resulted in anxiety attacks, sleepwalking and a 'raw, unadulterated, fear' of failure all of which he hid from the public yet used to motivate himself and to maintain a social consciousness about racism that was unfortunately uncommon for his era. Agent, David Vigliano. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"With his great court vision and magnificent ball-handling skills, 'The Cooz' was awesome, baby, with a capital A! If you're a basketball lover, like yours truly, you're gonna enjoy Bill Reynolds's amazing book!"
--Dick Vitale, ESPN/ABC-TV commentator