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YouTube Gold: Bill Russell On Bob Cousy

And what makes a great teammate

Bob Cousy, Bill Russell and Tom Heinson 1963 NBA All-Star Game MVP Portrait
Bob Cousy, Bill Russell and Tom Heinson 1963 NBA All-Star Game MVP Portrait

Earlier this summer, JJ Redick got some heat for mocking Boston Celtics great Bob Cousy and saying that he played with “plumbers and firemen.”

This didn’t go over well with everyone, not least of all Jerry West, who gently pointed out that Redick was, essentially, an average NBA player.

To that, we must say that Redick greatly exceeded expectations because not many people expected much from Redick in the NBA. He developed into a valuable player and a respected veteran. JJ had a really good NBA career.

But West’s point, politely made, was this: why mock an all-time great?

The game has surely changed, which was Redick’s point, but Cousy’s place in the pantheon is secure.

As a matter of fact, the late Bill Russell, in an interview with Charlie Rose, said that Cousy was a perfect teammate.

Why?

Because when Russell came, Cousy was the star of the team but he welcomed Russell and immediately began to collaborate with him because he wanted to make the team better.

Which of course they did, in legendary fashion. This is a nice insight into what made Boston such an incredibly successful franchise.