BOSTON – The Boston Celtics received a surprise pep talk from one of their most beloved legends Tuesday afternoon inside their film room at the Auerbach Center at New Balance World Headquarters. Hall-of-Famer Bob Cousy made the trip out to Brighton from his home in Worcester, Massachusetts to meet the current group of Celtics and give them a history lesson on the franchise that they represent.
“He talked about the legacy of being a Celtic,” Brad Stevens revealed after Tuesday afternoon’s practice. “He said how important it is to do things the right way, the mindset you need to be great, all of those things.”
The entire team listened with admiration as Cousy told tales from basketball’s glory days. From the conversation, they learned how much the NBA has transformed from the 1950s, when Cousy began his tenure with the Celtics, to now. The current core also got an idea of how much the Celtics organization meant – and still means – to Cooz, which gave them even more reason to appreciate the opportunity to play for such an illustrious franchise.
“It was just great to hear him talk and share his stories of how things were so much different back then,” said Terry Rozier, who, like many of the players, had just met Cousy for the first time. “This organization, we’ve just got so much behind it. You know, we’re not just playing for the names on the back; we’re playing for the name on the front. We’ve got a lot to represent.”
Having that responsibility is something that Stevens hopes his players cherish. Playing for this franchise is so much different than playing for any other in terms of the legacy and the pride that comes with it, and that was something that Cousy stressed to the team.
“I’ve said this many times before,” Stevens noted, “that it’s one thing to have all those banners hanging above you, but when those guys come in and they’re at a game or at practice or whatever, you just kind of say, ‘Man, we have a lot of responsibility for the uniform we’re putting on.”
Cousy was joined at the facility by author Gary Pomerantz, who recently collaborated with Cousy to write a book, “The Last Pass,” on the point guard’s experience with the Celtics and his relationship with Bill Russell.
Stevens praised the biography during his post-practice media session, telling reporters, “For a basketball history buff, it’s a must-read in my eyes.”
The book was a great source for Rozier, as well, who didn’t know much about Cousy other than his reputation of being a dribbling magician.
“Just by reading a little bit of his book, you see he’s an All-Star, a champion – six championships – and yet still he talks about how he could’ve done more,” Rozier marveled. “So, when you hear a guy talk like that – his unselfishness and his love for the game – it’s just crazy, and it’s just something that would take you a long way. They (Cousy and the rest of the Celtics Legends) set the tone for this to happen now – for the Boston Celtics to be how they are now.”
Rozier and the rest of the team are aware that it’s their responsibility to carry on the Celtics’ legacy by adopting a similar mindset to that of Cousy, and using it to benefit the team. Meeting the Legend and hearing his stories first-hand Tuesday afternoon only enforced that understanding.