Bob Cousy
75th Anniversay All-Celtics Team presented by Arbella Insurance
75th Anniversay All-Celtics Team presented by Arbella Insurance

Bob Cousy - Celtics Legend

PG | 6-1 | 175 lbs. | Born: Aug 9, 1928

After three All-American seasons at the College of the Holy Cross, just a short cruise from Boston, Bob Cousy entered the 1950 NBA Draft as a highly-touted prospect – at least for teams not named the Boston Celtics. The C’s owned the rights to the first overall selection in that draft, but Red Auerbach had no intentions of choosing Cousy with the pick due to his flashy play and small stature. Instead, Boston selected Charlie Share, a center out of Bowling Green. Two picks later, the Tri-City Blackhawks chose Cousy with the third overall selection.

Oddly enough, neither Share nor Cousy would go on to play for the teams that chose them. Share never suited up for the Celtics and began his career in Fort Wayne in 1951. Cousy’s story, however, is the stuff of legends.

The Blackhawks traded Cousy to the Chicago Stags prior to the 1950-51 season, but the Stags didn’t actually play a game that season. Instead, the Chicago franchise folded just a month before the regular season was set to begin. The NBA reacted by putting Chicago’s top three players’ names (Max Zaslofsky, Andy Phillip and Cousy) into a hat to be randomly drawn in a dispersal draft.

Three teams (the New York Knicks, the Philadelphia Warriors and Celtics) were invited to take part in the dispersal draft, and none of them wanted to wind up with Cousy, including the Celtics. But as fate would have it, his name was drawn as Boston’s selection. Less than a month later, on Nov. 1, 1950, Cousy and Auerbach made their debuts with Boston during the season opener in Fort Wayne.

It was a long and windy road that Cousy took to become a Celtic, but at the end of the day, it was meant to be. Soon after his arrival in Boston, he became one of the greatest players in the league.

Cousy was undoubtedly the top point guard of his generation. He led the NBA in assists-per-game in eight of his first 11 seasons, maxing out with an average of 9.5 APG in 1959-60. It may surprise you that a player who averaged around 8.0 APG during his prime would have led the league in assists, but take into consideration that there was no shot clock during Cousy’s era. Everything he accomplished was done in an era when the game was played at a very slow place, at least with the exception of Cousy and his teammates.

And that’s exactly why Cousy is seen as a player who changed the game. He was given the nickname "Houdini of the Hardwood" because of his unorthodox play, which often included behind-the-back and no-look passes. His style of play is the norm nowadays, but back in the 50s, he was often looked at as a showboat. No one, however, could deny the impact Cousy’s flashiness of play made on the Celtics.

Boston went on to win six titles during Cousy’s 13 seasons with the team thanks to his stellar play. He averaged between 7.5 and 10.8 APG during each of his final nine postseasons. His earlier playoff appearances included plenty of scoring, as he averaged between 20.2 and 31.0 PPG during six of his first seven postseasons.

Cousy also dominated regular seasons, as evidenced by his assist titles. He also hovered around 20.0 PPG for the majority of his career and finished with a final average of 18.4 PPG. As a 6-foot-1, thin-bodied point guard, Cousy managed to grab an average of 5.2 RPG throughout his 14-year career, with a career-high average of 6.9 RPG in his rookie season.

While playing for the Celtics, Cousy was chosen as the NBA’s MVP after averaging 20.6 PPG, 4.8 RPG and 7.5 APG over 64 games of the 1956-57 season. MVP awards were also given to Cousy after two of his 13 All-Star games, in 1954 (20 points, 11 rebounds, four assists) and in 1957 (10 points, five rebounds, seven assists). He was named to 10 consecutive All-NBA First Teams.

After his career came to a close, Cousy’s accolades continued to pile up. Cousy was elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1970 and the Celtics honored his greatness by retiring his No. 14 jersey on Oct. 16, 1963. He is also one of a handful of players who were chosen to the NBA’s 25th, 35th and 50th anniversary teams.

Had it not been for a freak accident during his sophomore year of high school, none of those accomplishments may have ever happened. Cousy fell out of a tree and broke his right hand not long after he was cut from the basketball team as a sophomore. With his right hand broken, he began to do everything left-handed – including playing basketball.

Soon enough, Cousy had transformed into an ambidextrous player who could dribble, shoot and pass with both hands. Those skills were crucial, because without them, he would have never been able to play with the style and grace that he showcased throughout his career. His other skills, however, were innate, and they helped him off of the court.

Perhaps more important than any of his playing or coaching days, Cousy played an instrumental role in the creation of the NBA Players Association, which launched in 1954. The NBPA was the first union organized in the four major American sports, and he served as its first president until 1958. That role helped him hone his business skills, which the Celtics saw as an asset. The team brought him back on board in 1999 as a marketing consultant, and he continues to hold that position in 2011.

NBA Career Accolades

10

All-NBA 1st Team

1951-52

1956-57

1955-56

1954-55

1960-61

1957-58

1952-53

1953-54

1959-60

1958-59

6

NBA Champion

1956-57

1958-59

1959-60

1960-61

1961-62

1962-63

2

All-NBA 2nd Team

1962-63

1961-62

2

NBA All-Star MVP

1953-54

1956-57

1

NBA MVP

1956-57

1

Hall of Fame

1971

NBA Career Stats

  • Regular Season
  • Playoffs
  • Averages
  • Totals
Season Team PTS GP MIN FGM FGM 3PM 3PA FTM FTM REB AST STL BLK
1950-51 BOS 1078 69 401 1138 276 365 474 341
1951-52 BOS 1433 66 2681 512 1388 409 506 421 441
1952-53 BOS 1407 71 2945 464 1320 479 587 449 547
1953-54 BOS 1383 72 2857 486 1262 411 522 394 518
1954-55 BOS 1504 71 2747 522 1316 460 570 424 557
1955-56 BOS 1356 72 2767 440 1223 476 564 492 642
1956-57 BOS 1319 64 2364 478 1264 363 442 309 478
1957-58 BOS 1167 65 2222 445 1262 277 326 322 463
1958-59 BOS 1297 65 2403 484 1260 329 385 359 557
1959-60 BOS 1455 75 2588 568 1481 319 403 352 715
1960-61 BOS 1378 76 2468 513 1382 352 452 331 587
1961-62 BOS 1175 75 2114 462 1181 251 333 261 584
1962-63 BOS 1003 76 1975 392 988 219 298 193 515
1969-70 CIN 5 7 34 1 3 3 3 5 10
Season Team PTS GP MIN FGM FGM 3PM 3PA FTM FTM REB AST STL BLK
1950-51 BOS 28 2 9 42 10 12 15 12
1951-52 BOS 93 3 138 26 65 41 44 12 19
1952-53 BOS 153 6 270 46 120 61 73 25 37
1953-54 BOS 126 6 260 33 116 60 75 32 38
1954-55 BOS 152 7 299 53 139 46 48 43 65
1955-56 BOS 79 3 124 28 56 23 25 24 26
1956-57 BOS 202 10 440 67 207 68 91 61 93
1957-58 BOS 198 11 457 67 196 64 75 71 82
1958-59 BOS 214 11 460 72 221 70 94 76 119
1959-60 BOS 199 13 468 80 262 39 51 48 116
1960-61 BOS 167 10 337 50 147 67 88 43 91
1961-62 BOS 224 14 474 86 241 52 76 64 123
1962-63 BOS 183 13 393 72 204 39 47 32 116
Season Team PTS GP MIN FGM FGA FG% 3PM 3PA 3P% FTM FTA FT% REB AST STL BLK
1950-51 BOS 15.6 69 0.0 5.8 16.5 35.2% 0.0 0.0 0.0% 4.0 5.3 75.6% 6.9 4.9 0.0 0.0
1951-52 BOS 21.7 66 40.6 7.8 21.0 36.9% 0.0 0.0 0.0% 6.2 7.7 80.8% 6.4 6.7 0.0 0.0
1952-53 BOS 19.8 71 41.5 6.5 18.6 35.2% 0.0 0.0 0.0% 6.7 8.3 81.6% 6.3 7.7 0.0 0.0
1953-54 BOS 19.2 72 39.7 6.8 17.5 38.5% 0.0 0.0 0.0% 5.7 7.3 78.7% 5.5 7.2 0.0 0.0
1954-55 BOS 21.2 71 38.7 7.4 18.5 39.7% 0.0 0.0 0.0% 6.5 8.0 80.7% 6.0 7.8 0.0 0.0
1955-56 BOS 18.8 72 38.4 6.1 17.0 36.0% 0.0 0.0 0.0% 6.6 7.8 84.4% 6.8 8.9 0.0 0.0
1956-57 BOS 20.6 64 36.9 7.5 19.8 37.8% 0.0 0.0 0.0% 5.7 6.9 82.1% 4.8 7.5 0.0 0.0
1957-58 BOS 18.0 65 34.2 6.8 19.4 35.3% 0.0 0.0 0.0% 4.3 5.0 85.0% 5.0 7.1 0.0 0.0
1958-59 BOS 20.0 65 37.0 7.4 19.4 38.4% 0.0 0.0 0.0% 5.1 5.9 85.5% 5.5 8.6 0.0 0.0
1959-60 BOS 19.4 75 34.5 7.6 19.7 38.4% 0.0 0.0 0.0% 4.3 5.4 79.2% 4.7 9.5 0.0 0.0
1960-61 BOS 18.1 76 32.5 6.8 18.2 37.1% 0.0 0.0 0.0% 4.6 5.9 77.9% 4.4 7.7 0.0 0.0
1961-62 BOS 15.7 75 28.2 6.2 15.7 39.1% 0.0 0.0 0.0% 3.3 4.4 75.4% 3.5 7.8 0.0 0.0
1962-63 BOS 13.2 76 26.0 5.2 13.0 39.7% 0.0 0.0 0.0% 2.9 3.9 73.5% 2.5 6.8 0.0 0.0
1969-70 CIN 0.7 7 4.9 0.1 0.4 33.3% 0.0 0.0 0.0% 0.4 0.4 100.0% 0.7 1.4 0.0 0.0
Season Team PTS GP MIN FGM FGA FG% 3PM 3PA 3P% FTM FTA FT% REB AST STL BLK
1950-51 BOS 14.0 2 0.0 4.5 21.0 21.4% 0.0 0.0 0.0% 5.0 6.0 83.3% 7.5 6.0 0.0 0.0
1951-52 BOS 31.0 3 46.0 8.7 21.7 40.0% 0.0 0.0 0.0% 13.7 14.7 93.2% 4.0 6.3 0.0 0.0
1952-53 BOS 25.5 6 45.0 7.7 20.0 38.3% 0.0 0.0 0.0% 10.2 12.2 83.6% 4.2 6.2 0.0 0.0
1953-54 BOS 21.0 6 43.3 5.5 19.3 28.4% 0.0 0.0 0.0% 10.0 12.5 80.0% 5.3 6.3 0.0 0.0
1954-55 BOS 21.7 7 42.7 7.6 19.9 38.1% 0.0 0.0 0.0% 6.6 6.9 95.8% 6.1 9.3 0.0 0.0
1955-56 BOS 26.3 3 41.3 9.3 18.7 50.0% 0.0 0.0 0.0% 7.7 8.3 92.0% 8.0 8.7 0.0 0.0
1956-57 BOS 20.2 10 44.0 6.7 20.7 32.4% 0.0 0.0 0.0% 6.8 9.1 74.7% 6.1 9.3 0.0 0.0
1957-58 BOS 18.0 11 41.5 6.1 17.8 34.2% 0.0 0.0 0.0% 5.8 6.8 85.3% 6.5 7.5 0.0 0.0
1958-59 BOS 19.5 11 41.8 6.5 20.1 32.6% 0.0 0.0 0.0% 6.4 8.5 74.5% 6.9 10.8 0.0 0.0
1959-60 BOS 15.3 13 36.0 6.2 20.2 30.5% 0.0 0.0 0.0% 3.0 3.9 76.5% 3.7 8.9 0.0 0.0
1960-61 BOS 16.7 10 33.7 5.0 14.7 34.0% 0.0 0.0 0.0% 6.7 8.8 76.1% 4.3 9.1 0.0 0.0
1961-62 BOS 16.0 14 33.9 6.1 17.2 35.7% 0.0 0.0 0.0% 3.7 5.4 68.4% 4.6 8.8 0.0 0.0
1962-63 BOS 14.1 13 30.2 5.5 15.7 35.3% 0.0 0.0 0.0% 3.0 3.6 83.0% 2.5 8.9 0.0 0.0
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