Former Boston Celtics great Bob Cousy remembered Arnie Risen as an intense teammate on the court and a gentle soul off it.

Risen, 87, of Pepper Pike, a former Ohio State University star and two-time NBA champion who was elected to the Naismith Hall of Fame in 1998, died Saturday from complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

A lung cancer survivor, he had been in remission the past six years.

“He was a very nice, gentle man who became such a competitor,” Cousy said in a telephone interview Monday. “He, obviously, reached the highest echelon in his profession and the NBA, and you don’t get there unless you’re a pretty intense competitor. But you’d never knew that. He was a sweet and gentle person.”

– Reported by Mary Schmitt Boyer of the Cleveland Plain Dealer