Robert Joseph “Bob” Cousy (August 9, 1928-) was born in New York to French immigrants, not speaking English until the age of 5, was cut twice from his high school basketball team, road the bench at the College of the Holy Cross and became the NBA’s Most Valuable Player. After his early struggles at Holy Cross, Cousy led the Crusaders to the NCAA National Championship in 1947. Underrated by the Celtics organization as the 1950 NBA Draft approached, Bob was chosen by the Tri-Cities Blackhawks as the third overall pick in the draft. Refusing to report, Cousy would eventually be given to the Celtics, to their dismay, via dispersal draft after the Blackhawks refused Cousy’s salary demands and the Chicago Stags folded. Bob Impressed early one eventually hitting his stride in the 1952-53 season when he began a string of eight consecutive seasons that he led the NBA in assists. Cousy became a 13-time All-Star selection (named the All-Star Game MVP in 1954 and 1957) and 10-time All-NBA First Team player. In 1957, Bob captured the NBA Most Valuable Player Award as he guided the Celtics to the first of his six NBA Championships (1957, 1959-1963).
His innovative style of dribbling, ambidextrous ball handling and shooting, and no-look, behind the back and half-court passing made Cousy a fan favorite and key component around which Red Auerbach could build a team. He earned the nickname of “Houdini of the Hard-court” because of this unique and new style of play and was also called “The Cooz” and most notably, with all due respect to George Mikan, “Mr. Basketball.” Cousy finished his career with 16,960 points, 6,955 assists, 4,786 total rebounds, 4,624 free throws and 6,168 field goals. Cousy retired after the 1963 season, but made a brief comeback during the 1969-70 season as player/coach of the Cincinnati Royals. As a coach for the Cincinnati Royals (1969-1974), Cousy compiled a record of 141-209 in 350 games. Bob Cousy was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1971. In 1996, Cousy was named to the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History list. In retirement, Bob was the Commissioner of the American Soccer League during the late 1970s and has been a color analyst for the Celtics since the 1980s.