The case for Cousy:
- 6 x NBA champion
- 10 x All-NBA 1st Team
- 1 x MVP
- 13 x All-Star
- 2 x All-Star MVP
- Led NBA in assists for 8 consecutive seasons
How he wasn't voted into the top 25 is beyond me. He was the most famous and impressive basketball player of the 1950s and, other than perhaps Magic Johnson, has the best resume of any point guard in NBA history.
He has a better resume than Magic id say. 2 less MVPs but 1 more ring, 1 more all nba first team, more all star games, led the league in assists 4 more time than Magic and relative to his era was probably more beloved and maybe...just about as well rounded. Believe it or not...bob Cousy actually played center just like Magic did. At his size...he was put at center more than once. Dont ask my how it worked out...I didnt see the game. But I read the recap and read Red saying he did it now and then for mismatch purposes.
If his resume were the issue he would be top 10. But it isnt. And to me there is one very good reason for that....
He had a team with 3 all nba first teamers on it and didnt even make the finals before Russell much less win. He wins Bills rookie season powered by the frontcourt(Bill and Heinson went off...Cousy and sharman combined to go 5-40 in game 7)...loses when Bill is hurt in the finals(cousy going 5-15, 5-17, and 4 of 15 in 3 of the games Bill was injured in no doubt didnt help...considering 2 of the 3 were one shot losses and the other was a 3 point loss). never loses again with Bill playing....by the end hes openly wondering in the press if he should even be starting over KC Jones. He had gone like 5-35 over a stretch and thought he was hurting the team being a started just because of his name....
So he retires. Russell ranks the first season without him as the teams best...and the greatest team of all time. Why? because they played the best defense. He mentioned that Cousys style was not going to help them win so he changed his defense for the express purpose of letting Cousy off the hook for letting his man by him so often...and they set up a deal where Bill blocks the shots and gets cousy the ball on the break as quickly as possible so he can run and do his flashy thing. Cousy himself said he was a capable but not always willing defender.
That...kinda sickens me. A guy whos greatest legacy will always be being a winner on those teams....got drug into respectable basketball by Bill Russell. And admits he didnt even want to play defense.
His resume is what it is because of Bill Russell. And them winning 5 rings without him should make that painfully clear. I dont know how his legacy really stacks up to a guy like even....Dolph Schayes or Pitchin Paul considering that.
These guys were warriors. Dolph was out there playing in the finals with a gotdamn cast on his broken arm. Dude was top 5 or so in asssits, led the league in rebounds I believe, dropped 50 on Bill Russell, led his team to a tlte(before Russell arrived), I think...didnt miss a game for like 10 years.....retired the all time leading rebounder and scorer. He was a 25/14 player in his prime. Could do it all. Ive heard Wilt praise his toughness, rebounding, shooting(he shot 90+ percent from the line several times), and defense(ive read that when his arm was broken he would pretty much just hit guys with the cast as a weapon...which I kinda like).
Plenty of guys like him. Arizin is out there dropping 30ppg to lead his team to a title and not shooting 32% on the way as cousy did some years they won.
But he will never be remembered by history because he wsnt lucky enough to be gifted Bill Russell and win 6 of his 11 rings.
You can call it unfair to knock Cousy for the greatness of his teammate...it might be unfair. But its sure as hell not fair to the guys who managed to get it done without a guy who oozed victory next to them that cousy gets all this love for shit he clearly wasnt the driving force behind.
Plenty of sidekicks are lucky to have their #1...sure. how many can say the guy won 5 rings without them at all?
Some find it disrespectful of Cousy to say. I find it disrespectful of the other guys who worked just as hard and dont even get mentioned despite doing what Cousy never could. Winning without Bill Russell.
And cousy flat out saying hes a capable but not always willing defender disrespects the game more to me than me pointing out that he said it and that bill russell covered for him and made him the winner hes remembered as.
Give me Stockton, Barry, Wade, willis Reed, Cowens, and a hell of a lot of others over Cousy. They didnt win like him. But he didnt win like him on teams that needed him to do it.
And its time more people would just be real about it.
No disrespect to anyone. Im paying more respect....to the people who worked all their lives to be great and dont get remembered like Bob because they played fundamental ball and didnt get Bill Russell to bail them out.
Id vote Paul Arizin in before Bob. Wanna give someone pioneer credit...he and Joe Fulks pretty much invented the pullup jumper. But since he didnt get the greatest winner ever....and since he joined the Marines in his prime during the Korean war...he cant have Cousys legacy. But he did lead his team to the title.
More than we can say for Cousy. Though im sure plenty of people at the time wanted to credit Cousy anyway. Im told it was tough for a guy like Russell to get love in the 50s. Not cousy though. wonder why that could be......