My respect for Bob Cousy (which was already very high) just skyrocketed
Bob Cousy with his wife Missy and daughter Marie (Pic via TELEGRAM & GAZETTE)
My first memories watching the Celtics were on Channel 56. We didn't have cable, but all the Celtics away games were on Channel 56, so I got to watch half the Celtics games and listen to Gil Santos do the play by play and Bob Cousy break down the action. On the rare occasions the Celtics struggled, I'd always hear Cousy say "The Celtics need to pick up their defensive intensity." Then Tommy Heinsohn replaced Santos and actually did the play by play. If Tommy was considered a "homer," Cousy was the opposite. If he gave a player praise, it was high praise indeed. Especially point guards. For this reason many years later when Cousy would talk about how special a young Rajon Rondo was, I knew he was the real deal.
I was always anxious to hear what Cousy had to say about any new Celtics players, since if he gave his thumbs up you knew you had something. I was very disappointed when CSNNE decided to no longer let Bob Cousy do a handful of games in more recent years. I always assumed that the reason he only wanted to do a few games was because as he got older the daily grind was too much. Turns out there was a reason he only wanted to announce the Celtics games in Orlando and Miami. He had a much greater job to do in Florida.
Honestly if you read just one article this week, I'd suggest the following article. Like I love having you on our site, but this is too heartwarming not to read.
Decades later, when Missie slowly succumbed to the ravages of dementia, her husband ensured that the woman he called "my bride" was always by his side, even as her mind wandered where he couldn't follow.
The game plan, as he called it, rarely varied. Each morning, he'd awaken first and set things on the kitchen table — her pills, the newspaper, a fiber bar, a banana. Then he'd return to the bedroom and rouse his wife. Often, she balked at leaving the warmth of the covers, so he'd gently coax her. Always, he was gentle.
Once she was up, he'd lead her to the kitchen to read the newspaper. It took two or three hours to get through the pages, because she'd underline each sentence in every story with a black pen. After a while he found comfort in reading between the lines, because it was something they shared.
"She was leading a happy life," he said. "It was part of the game plan."
"Our marriage was somewhat contrary to tradition," he said. "Most couples have the most intensity in the beginning. But I was always working. So we had the best and most romantic part of our marriage at the end. We literally held hands for the last 20 years."
Missie's cognitive decline was gradual and began a dozen years ago, Cousy said. She would ask him the same question, over and over. She hallucinated, grew disoriented and struggled with balance. But she always knew her husband, and she bristled at any suggestion that she suffered from dementia.
So Cousy worked hard to create the perception that his once-independent wife was vital and healthy. Because she believed she could still drive, he shipped her station wagon to their place in Florida each winter so she could see it in the driveway. Artificial red flowers were planted in her garden. He did all the household chores and let her think she performed them herself.
I bolded my favorite line. But honestly read the whole thing. Look Bob Cousy is an all time NBA great. One of the most unique talents to ever play the game. Most of us are too young to remember him playing, but if you watch the highlights and see that he was the point guard on so many championship teams you just know that he must have been something else out there. Then he gave me many years of enjoyment as an announcer (Just as Tommy has, but with a completely different style). But in a time when we warn fans not to make heroes of athletes, because too often they let us down off the court, here's Bob Cousy who silently did more as a spouse the last dozen years than he did as a basketball player throughout his entire Hall Of Fame career.
We've been lucky to have some great men play for the Celtics. Players that not only excelled on the court, but off as well. And I don't mean just doing NBA Cares stuff that's mandated in their contracts. Bill Russell, Sam Jones, Tommy Heinsohn, the list goes on. Bob Cousy is up there in my book as high as anyone. I'm sure he'd say it wasn't that big a deal, that his wife would have done the same for him if the roles were reversed, but I still think he deserves all the props in the world. Dealing with that sickness is one of the more trying ordeals. I read a really cool comment on Deadspin (in the comments section) which also wrote on the Telegram article. I'll end this post with it, as I thought whoever wrote it nailed it:
"Even after his playing days were over, Cousy was a master of the assist."