Bob Cousy: 'Now I want to make it to 100!'

NBC Sports Boston Staff
NBC Sports Boston

Hall of Famer Bob Cousy, who revolutionized basketball in the 1950s and '60s, turns 90 today. And the former Celtic great feels good . . . both about himself and about the current Celtics team.

"Now I want to make it to 100!" the ex-Celtic guard told NBC Sports Boston's Paul Lucey.  "When I turned 80, the goal was to make it to 90 . . . being a goal-oriented person, I set that goal, not knowing if it was realistic. Now I want to make triple digits, with the proviso that I keep my marbles -- which, thankfully, I have to this point -- and can maintain some sort of a normal life.

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"I'll take it one day at a time, but 100 is the goal."

And he has something to look forward to: The upcoming Celtics season.

"Everything is in place," he said. "Celtics fans are in for one exciting season. The Finals" -- which Jaylen Brown guarantees they'll make -- "are certainly within reach.

"I don't think they're quite at Golden State's level, but that's tough for me to judge just by watching the games on TV.  It will be a hell of an interesting year -- they'll win way more than they lose -- and they can beat any team on any given night, Golden State included.  I won't predict a title but I think they'll be in the top two."

One thing that gratifies Cousy is the way basketball has taken off in the nearly 70 years since his NBA career started in 1950.

"We used to sit in those dingy locker rooms and say if we could just get on those TV sets, this game will explode! We have the best athletes and the best game," he said. "In 1957, I was the league MVP on a championship team and I was making $20,000 a year (approximately $180,000 in 2018 dollars).  When I said the league would explode, I was thinking the players might someday be able to make $100,000 a year. But if you had told me that someday one player would make $44 million for one season like LeBron [James] just got, I would have said, 'Get that guy outta here -- he's crazy!' But the game has exploded. It's the number-two sport in the world [behind soccer] in terms of participation.

"Here football is No. 1, but they seem to be in the process of injuring themselves. So I think basketball is a close second.  It's good, solid entertainment . . . [but] where it is right now, I could never have predicted that."
 

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