Legal Timeout with Jim Loscutoff
By: Jeff Twiss, VP Media Services/Alumni Relations
'Loscy' proudly wore the number 18 for the Green and White from 1955-56 through the 1963-64 campaign. When time came to retired his number, Jim asked if his number would be carried on and worn by other Celtics players, but his name (or nickname in this case) be retired. (The number 18 would be eventually retired for another Celtics superstar, Dave Cowens, in 1981).
Jim Loscutoff, or as legendary announcer Johnny Most liked to say, "Jungle Jim" Loscutoff, was Boston's top pick (the 4th pick overall) in the 1955 NBA Draft, from the University of Oregon. He had just led his college team in both scoring and rebounding that season. He made an impact immediately to Coach Red Auerbach's team in scoring, rebounding and defense. This was never more evident than in the 1956-57 season, when he averaged a double-double – 10.6 points and 10 rebounds per game. He went on to help lead the Celtics to seven world championship titles in his nine-year career.
Today, life is a four-letter word and what Jim likes to do is another four-letter word... golf.
Celtics.com's Jeff Twiss chatted with Jim recently.
Jim, Florida, Massachusetts, golf… you keep yourself busy, don't you?
Loscutoff: "Jeff, I retired from teaching at Boston State College and then I ran a summer day camp, which I started back in 1964. I have given that to my son, who is now operating it. I'm spending six months in Florida and "trying" to play golf again, which is probably the toughest sport I have ever played. I am down there with my wife, Lynn, who is an artist, so we have a pretty good life together right now – 50 years of marriage."
When your playing days were done, Jim, what did you find was the toughest adjustment to make?
Loscutoff: "Well, I really didn't have a tough adjustment, but I know a lot of players do. Because I was involved with coaching and I was involved in my summer day camp, which was in the year I retired, in 1964. And I just kept myself busy so, consequently, it wasn't that big of an adjustment."
We know you are a big student of the game of basketball, how has the game changed?
Loscutoff: "You know, they are great athletes today, real good all-around athletes. They are all fast, they run, they jump but they also seem to lack a lot of fundamentals. During my era, I think everyone of us were pretty fundamentally sound. Today, it seems that everything is based on the slam dunk or the jump shot with no follow-up for a second shot. Very rarely do you see a player shoot a one-handed set shot in the corner. But, theoretically, the game hasn't changed that much other than the athlete today is much better."
Do you see your former Celtics teammates and keep in touch with them?
Loscutoff: "Not really, Jeff, not as much as I would hope to. I keep in touch with Frank Ramsey because his wife is in Naples, Florida, and Frank comes down to visit periodically. I do see Tommy Heinsohn and Bob Cousy at celebrity golf tournaments but that is about it. When we finished playing, we used to get together quite a bit but now we are getting too old to get together."
Any favorite memory or anything that you learned as a Boston Celtic that you have carried with you through life?
Loscutoff: "I would say that my favorite memory was winning the first world championship. My other remorse was that we didn't make as much money as these guys make today. It's quite a difference."