Bob Cousy has been on the planet 92 years, and stays as sharp as a person half his age, and but he still can’t work out these three mysteries of the Boston sports activities universe:
- Why on this planet did the Red Sox commerce Mookie Betts?
- Why aren’t these Celtics higher at basketball?
- How on earth did Boston fail to re-sign Kyrie Irving?
Ahead of Friday evening’s Game 3 of the Brooklyn-Boston collection at TD Garden, where Celtics fans will be, ahem, greeting their former point guard for the primary time, it’s best to know that Cousy is a large fan of Irving’s. They sat collectively for a TV present as soon as referred to as “Passing the Torch” and talked concerning the playmaking craft.
“I was also a big of a show-off,” Cousy would say.
“Yeah, I heard that,” Irving responded. “I get that a lot, too.”
As Irving was ending the section, he thanked “Mr. Cousy” for becoming a member of him.
“You’ve got to bring home a flag for me, man,” stated the six-time NBA champ.
Irving didn’t carry house a flag, or banner, for the Celtics, who already personal 17 of them. He talked about sometime hanging his No. 11 jersey within the Garden rafters, and he did as soon as promise followers that he would re-sign with the fabled inexperienced. Irving as an alternative signed with the Brooklyn Nets for 4 years and $141 million, which left Cousy dumbfounded.
“I saw the same Kyrie with the Celtics that I saw with Brooklyn the other night,” he advised The Post on Thursday. “He’s even more unstoppable now when defenses can’t focus on him with [James] Harden and [Kevin] Durant. Winning in professional sports is all about skilled players; coaches don’t win. A talent like Kyrie comes along once every 20-25 years. It is so rare that when you acquire it, you don’t let it go. I’m still shaking my head.”
You can discuss all day about workforce chemistry, and the issues that come tethered to Irving’s high-maintenance presence. You can say that the Celtics did all the things they may to make him comfortable, and that at day’s finish the Jersey child who grew up a Nets fan simply needed to go house.
But Cousy is aware of this a lot: Talent wins within the NBA, and the Celtics ought to by no means have let that sort of expertise stroll out the door.
“I think Kyrie is exceptional,” Cousy stated. “I think he’s done things frankly that I’ve never seen another point guard do. … I’ve never seen a point guard that seems to have this many options, this many body moves to create opportunities for himself. Kyrie is literally unstoppable.”
Asked if he considered Irving as one of many 5 most gifted level guards he’s ever seen, Cousy stated, “Oh God, yeah. Absolutely.”
High reward from the excessive priest of courtroom imaginative and prescient and ball distribution, who listened with nice curiosity after Game 2 when Irving stated he hoped that Friday evening, “There’s no belligerence or racism going on — subtle racism — people yelling s–t from the crowd.” Asked if he had been subjected to racial remarks in Boston, Irving stated, “I’m not the only one that can attest to this.”
Cousy roomed with, and befriended, the primary African-American participant drafted into the NBA, Chuck Cooper, and left the Celtics behind in Raleigh, N.C., to take a practice again to Boston along with his buddy when a resort wouldn’t enable Cooper to stick with his white teammates. Rather than endure the indignity of utilizing separate restrooms marked “white” and “colored” on the practice station, Cousy and Cooper urinated collectively exterior.
“I was momentarily ashamed to be white,” Cousy stated.
To at the present time, he regrets not being extra outspoken concerning the racism his teammate Bill Russell commonly confronted.
“Racism exists in Boston, no question Russ was right about that,” Cousy stated. “It also exists in New York, Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit, wherever. It’s the human animal at fault.”
Irving didn’t publicly cite examples of racism he might need confronted in Boston, which, after all, doesn’t imply he didn’t expertise it. Either method, Cousy believes Irving has put the Game 3 crowd on its heels.
“I think he just turned the tables,” stated the 13-time All-Star. “In my judgment, Kyrie was smart enough to use the media to do this, and now the spotlight is on how the fans are going to react. The pressure is now on the fans. … I think it was brilliant strategy on his part.”
In the top, Cousy needs it by no means got here to this. He needs the Celtics had discovered a technique to preserve the purpose guard, as a result of you may’t lose an all-time expertise for nothing. If Irving was in search of an endorsement from somebody, anybody, in Boston on the eve of his return, he simply received the most effective one obtainable.