By Scoop Malinowski
Status: NBA Great won six NBA Championships with Boston Celtics.
DOB: August 9, 1928 In: New York, N.Y.
Childhood Heroes: “Didn’t have any.”
Nicknames: “Houdini Of The Hardwoods. The Houdini haunted me through high school and college (at Holy Cross). I’m only teasing you [smiles]. I was doing all that fancy stuff. And I was the only one doing it.”
Hobbies/Interests: “I play mediocre golf and terrible tennis. Two grandchildren who I take great pride and joy in. Reading.”
Favorite Movies: “The French Connection was my biggie.”
Pregame Feeling: “I was into focusing. Primarily I’m developing a pretty good hate for the opponentI would want to cloister, be left alone, not do interviews and think of the bad guys.”
Childhood Ambition: “To survive. And I’ve done that quite well.”
Favorite Books: “War, Clancy, Grisham, Robert Tannenbaum – former District Attorney in New York, former cases, books with legal backgrounds.”
First Job: “Delivering fish by bike for a little fish market in St. Albans out on Long Island when I was twelve. I lied. In those days you needed working papers and had to be fourteen so I fudged two years.”
Favorite Breakfast Cereal: “Graham bar and a banana.”
Favorite Meal: “Given my French heritage, anything with a nice, rich sauce. I’m easy to feed as my wife (Marie) tells me. Beef stew, meatloaf, brown gravy over steak and roast beef. I’m sauce-oriented. Anything exotic in the culinary life.”
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: “All of them. But I’m into health foods. Yogurt unfortunately. Cherry vanilla yogurt. Is this a book?”
Early Basketball Memory: “I’m entering into my early Alzheimers stage…so I have poor recall [smiles].”
Greatest Career Moment: “When my father (Joseph) left the farm in France and decided to come to the good ol’ USA, where the streets are paved with gold. So we could all earn a living playing a child’s game. He drove a taxi for twenty years in New York City but it allowed me to play a child’s game and earn a pretty good living.”
Most Painful Moment: “I was very fortunate. I haven’t had any sustained painful moments. I played on an exceptional playoff team. In college my first year we won the NCAA. I captained six world championship teams. I have no regrets. And I have no negative moments. Yeah, everybody hates to lose. But I have nothing that stands out.”
Favorite Athletes To Watch: “Sports on TV, gold and tennis, Greg Norman. I kind of relate to Greg Norman with all of his problems. He’s won big tournaments but he has a history of never winning the biggies and so forth. So I kind of root for him. Patriots. Drew Bledsoe. But I don’t feel a kinship to the young active athletes.”
Toughest Competitors Encountered: “Larry Costello. Slater Martin.”
People Qualities Most Admred: “Honesty. Truth. Arthur Ashe exemplified what its about to have a responsibility and act on it. Got to use his celebrity in a meaningful way. Cal Ripken. Chris Evert. Michael Jordan likes to accept responsibility on how he presents himself as a role model. This is becoming scarcer and scarcer. I want nothing whatsoever to do with overt demonstrations, high-fives, elbow-bashing, trash talk, all that boring, goddamned stuff that some of them do out there today.”
Career Accomplishments: Won six NBA Championships; Celtics all-time leader in assists; 19,960 career points; 13-time All Star Game participant; League MVP 1957-58.
(Note: I did this Biofile with Bob Cousy at a NJ Nets vs Celtics game at Brendan Byrne Arena in NJ where he was working as a TV analyst.)