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His Life, Career, and the Birth of Big-Time Basket

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.
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  • Pocket Books | 
  • 384 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439117422 | 
  • May 2010
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

You could buy a wool suit with two trousers for $49, and pork chops for 65 cents a pound. At the movies you could see Lawrence of Arabia and To Kill a Mockingbird. On television you could watch Gunsmoke, Mission Impossible, and Peyton Place. President John F. Kennedy was in Costa Rica to meet with leaders of Central American countries, and Willy Brandt, the mayor of West Berlin, was calling for the United States and the Soviet Union to meet in an attempt to lessen growing East-West tensions. A young singer named Barbra Streisand would end up with the album of the year.

It was March 17, 1963.... see more

About the Author

Bill Reynolds
Photo Credit:

Bill Reynolds

Bill Reynolds, coauthor of Success Is a Choice with Rick Pitino, has won numerous awards for his columns in The Providence Journal. The author of several books, including Fall River Dreams and Glory Days, he lives in Providence, Rhode Island.




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