Meet the Men in Green - Charlie Scott
Meet the Men in Green - Charlie Scott
By Reagan Berube
"Can I speak to Charlie please?"
The change is apparent the moment he answers his telephone.
"This is Charles."
Although this is the first one you hear, the transformation of former Celtic Charlie Scott isn't in name alone. One of the fastest players on the 1976 World Championship team has slowed his lifestyle considerably from the time he wore a Green and White uniform - an era recognized as much for its fast living as it was for its fast breaks.
Now the only fast lane the 54-year old Scott travels is the one in which he takes his children to and from school.
"My kids have become a big part of my life," said Scott. "I spend a lot of time with them. In today's society, a father has got to be more involved with their kids. So between school work and things like that, I have taken a bigger role. Spending time with my family has really become important to me and I really enjoy being with them."
Retired from the game for 21 years, Scott started his own sports marketing firm three years ago and now spends much of his time around his Georgia home. The fact that he now devotes much of his time with his loved ones owes much to his realization that he has lived a full and successful life.
Few players experienced all that Scott did during his playing days. His basketball pedigree, which took root on the campus of the University of North Carolina, is second to none. After a successful college career in which he helped kick start the Tar Heel hoops tradition as the school's first African-American starter, Scott played a key role on the US Olympic team in 1968. Then, after two years in the ABA in which he averaged 30.6 points per game, he joined the Phoenix of NBA in 1971, with whom he made the All-Star team three times in four seasons.
At the same time he was great player on a mediocre Suns team, there was a great team needing one more piece to become NBA Champions.
Entering the 1975-76 season, the Celtics saw the Rick Barry-led Golden State Warriors as the team to beat. In hopes that his scoring punch would put them over the top, Boston acquired Scott for Paul Westphal before the start of he season.
No one doubted his ability. But with Scott having taken nearly1600 shots the previous seasons, the most frequently asked question in Celtics training camp was if one ball would be enough for a team already featuring Jo Jo White, Dave Cowens and John Havlicek?
However, injuries did not allow the Shamrocks to field their most potent lineup until late in the season. As a result, Scott and White, who made up the U.S. Olympic Team's starting backcourt in Mexico City seven years before, formed one of the league's great backcourts. Each played all 82 regular season games and combined to score 36.5 points per contests en route to Boston's 13th title. Scott's addition proved to be invaluable during the 1976 playoffs, as he scored eight straight hoops against the Buffalo Braves helping the Green and White march past the Braves in six games. In the second round of the playoffs at Cleveland, it was his steal and dunk which preserved a 94-87 victory for Boston in Game 6 and sent the C's to the NBA Championship.
Perhaps his greatest moment as a Celtic came once again on the visitor's court, this time in Phoenix. Scott paced Boston with a solid 25-point effort in the historic Game 5 against the Suns. He also added 11 rebounds, three assists, and five steals.
Although White received MVP honors of the 1976 playoffs, Scott made a strong bid for himself with his clutch play and his 15.4 points per game average. "I think that was the most gratifying thing for me - the first year we got the championship," said Scott. "I fit in very well. The most important thing was that my teammates respected me, the coaching staff and management respected me and really the fans respected me. I feel very fortunate to be Celtic.
"My favorite memory is playing with that great group of guys. That is what I mean when I was saying it is so hard to quit. It is not the wins and losses, it is the camaraderie and the challenge of going out every night and trying to be the better team."
While many of his former Celtics teammates went into coaching, Scott was ready to get out of the game by the time his playing career was over. He started a business selling high-end shoes to celebrities before he joined athletic apparel giant Champion as a Sports Marketing Director. Now with a wife, three children and a happy home life, Scott's name for happiness is peace of mind.
The reason why so many of us became coaches was because it was our responsibility to understand what we were supposed to do on the court, and we knew it was important the manner which we carried ourselves. These are the things basketball is built on, knowing what you are supposed to do and what everybody else is doing.
"I wanted to get out of basketball for a while. I think when you do something all your life, you want to make a change and take a little time off. I have the satisfaction of doing the things I wanted to. I may not have done them as well as I wanted to, but I did them and I enjoyed them and the record speaks for itself."