The NBA celebrates NBA 75 roster players almost daily from now until the end of the season. Today’s honoree is Celtics star Bob Cousy. This story, about concern about the pace at which Cousy, 26 at the time, was playing, appeared in the February 1, 1956 issue of The Sporting News. He played in Boston for seven more years, playing in all but two games in his last four seasons.
BOSTON, Mass. – Bob Cousy was playing his customarily brilliant game for the Celtics at the Garden, but those sharp around the court shook their heads and said, “He’s trying hard. He’s worn down to the ankles.”
The history of basketball does not include a precedent that physicians can use to measure the number of foot-pounds of energy a player can put out before losing muscle response. Three weeks ago, a doctor, who is also a basketball fan, casually said, “How long does Bob Cousy expect to continue playing this new game of basketball?”
The answer here was that Cousy, being an athletic genius, could not be judged like other less gifted players are judged. His movements are graceful and lack muscle conflict. He moves easier, faster and with less energy expenditure than a normal player.
“Yes, yes,” said the doctor, “but the human system could never have been designed for this horse racing basketball. If you study the history of the games, you will find that they developed slowly, over a period of many years or even centuries, and all developed a rhythm that includes a place to stop or a period of breathing – that is, every game except basketball.
– NBA History (@NBAHistory) May 16, 2017
Crisler was fit for soccer, but not basketball
“Most sports have periods of wild speed for short bursts or a steady pace for a long performance. A marathoner, for example, doesn’t run the first mile in four minutes and then glides the rest of the way. A fighter uses his peak energy for just a few seconds A boxer fights for three minutes and rests for one.
“Of course, these games developed slowly. Basketball was not. Basketball was invented, and now it is in the growth stage where other sports were in their first century of existence.
“I don’t pretend to know how much energy replacement and stamina basketball entails, but I’ve never forgotten what happened to Hal Crisler, who had played one season with the Boston Yanks and decided to try and get into the Celtics.
“Crisler was in top shape for football, but he didn’t last two weeks with the Celtics. Lack of condition, they said. Actually, it was condition for professional soccer, but poor condition for professional basketball. And that was the old man. play”. , or a comparatively old game.
“This new game, especially for a scorer and playmaker like Cousy, must be almost unbearable for long periods of time.
Cage Game as Crusade to Cousy
“Few professional sports organizations know how to relieve stress on athletes. I have seen veteran baseball players play game after game in hot weather when it was obvious that they had lost a percentage of their response to stimuli, which is the coefficient of his athletic ability. But that’s baseball. A game that is more debilitating emotionally than physically. In a three-hour game, less than 15 minutes is the maximum speed of total physical action. Much less than 15 minutes.
“But basketball, the way that Cousy plays it, is almost a crusade. He is, of course, the most spectacular individual who has ever played, not only because of his superb ability, but because of the tremendous emotional tone in which he operates. . That tone, in other men, would require a leveling off period. Maybe Cousy doesn’t need a change anymore. I don’t think he needs to rest as much as he needs a change in activity. Rest is not the cure. For him. Baseball teams. they put a player on the bench and think they are doing him a favor. They are not. They should send him out fishing, golfing, painting the house or mowing the lawn. Athletes need a change, a release from the urge to hit a ball or throw one to a hoop.
“Cousy is tired, of course, but he’s young enough and skilled enough that he can play as well as the best in the NBA, even after losing top efficiency. But I’d say his career could be dramatically prolonged if I played fewer games. , and if I were the owner of a club, I would want Cousy to play for as many years as possible. “