Bob Cousy, formerly of the Boston Celtics and now head basketball coach at Boston College, bathes in superlatives. He was the best all-round little man—at 6 feet 1½ inches—in pro basketball and the best playmaker. His passes to Tommy Heinsohn and other teammates thrilled the crowds as much as an actual basket being sunk by a Hank Luisetti or a Bill Sharman (he enjoyed making a pretty pass as much as a score, anyway). He played in every NBA All-Star game. The most respected player in the league, he successfully battled with the owners to set up a players' association and a pension plan. He was pro basketball's representative when President Eisenhower assembled the country's foremost athletes to discuss a national physical fitness program.
Not unexpectedly, he has written—with Edward Linn—an excellent book about his 13 years in the game. It is The Last Loud Roar (Prentice-Hall, $5.95). The book, which takes Cousy and the Celtics through the sixth and final game of the 1963 championship series with the Los Angeles Lakers, is written in stream-of-consciousness fashion—a device that allows Cousy to slip easily into reminiscence, state some strong opinions and demonstrate cynicism about certain aspects of professional athletics. He makes a few confessions, sings paeans of praise for players like Larry Costello (then with Syracuse) and Celtic teammates Heinsohn, Tom Sanders, Sam Jones, K. C. Jones and Bill Russell. He also tells anecdotes about the explosive Celtic coach, Red Auerbach, passes judgment on obnoxious fans and an occasional purblind referee and explains his philosophy about playmaking, game preparation and the behind-the-back dribble. The overriding message is that the player's lot is not always a happy one and that Cousy could not have stood the pressures for one more minute. He speaks of the sound of Russell's retching serving as counterpoint to Auerbach's pregame instructions; of the tic and the jumping nerve under his arm that he, Cousy, developed; of the nightmares he had that found him running around his room at night, crashing through a screen door and crouching naked in the woods. He wound up tying himself to the bed. He consulted a psychiatrist, who told him he had an anxiety complex and put him on tranquilizers.
There were compensations, of course—the victory skein of the Celtics under his leadership, the respect the Celtic players developed for each other, the burgeoning popularity of the professional game and the personal satisfaction he always felt when a play was perfectly executed.