Because of the new "center-less" NBA All-Star ballots, there have been recent discussions regarding the lack of classic big men these days - the 7-foot, 2-300-some-pound giant who makes his living scoring, rebounding and blocking shots in the post. Which brings us to today's birthday celebrant, Dave Cowens - who bucked the trend by playing the classic big man game minus the classic big man size. Cowens is 6'9", 230-lbs. but coming out of Florida State U. in 1970 was projected to be anything but an NBA center. Shorter than the prototype 5 of those days (Wilt and Kareem), Big Red was seen by most to be an NBA 3 or 4 - but not by Celts Patriarch Red Auerbach (and Bill Russell, who scouted Cowens), who selected him with the fourth overall pick in the '70 draft. Setting him down in the post to do battle with the Wilts, Kareems and Waltons, Cowens hustled his way against taller opponents to numerous awards and accomplishments, including: Rookie of the Year, seven All-Star Game appearances, 13,516 career points, 10,444 career rebounds, two World Championships and one league MVP. And all that while playing a position in the NBA he supposedly wasn't capable of.
Kudos Mr. Cowens! And Happy Birthday to you! Today is really all about #18!