How can any Celtics fan forget that today is Dave Cowens birthday. Yeah, I understand that remembering athletes birthdays are weird, but I saw that it was his birthday when I was surfing the internet, so I figured why not do a blog on one of the greatest Celtics and basketball players of all-time.
After a rare down period of not winning after Bill Russell retired as a player and coach, the Celtics were in a small state of flux.
Then during the 1970 NBA Draft, Celtics patriarch Red Auerbach pulled another rabbit out of a hat and drafted a big red-headed, Kentucky boy out of Florida State University with the 4th pick of the draft. This was the beginning of Cowens career with the Celtics, which lasted from 1970-1980.
Of course, Auerbach was told that the 6’9″ Cowens was too small to play center. He was told that he couldn’t match up against big centers such as Wilt Chamberlain or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. That was a bunch of crap. In fact, the league would have to watch out for Cowens for a full decade.
What did Cowens do in his 11-year Celtics career?
He was a seven-time All-Star, Rookie of the Year in 1971, All-Star MVP in 1973, league MVP in 1973, All-Defensive First Team in 1976, NBA All-Rookie First Team in 1971 and of course a two-time NBA champion in 1974 and 1976.
Not bad ehh?
Don’t forget Cowens was probably the hardest and grittiest player to ever wear the Celtics uniform. His coach during the two years he won championships was Tom Heinsohn. You can bet your bottom dollar that if Heinsohn was handing out “Tommy Points” back then that Cowens would be the recipient and winner every night.
Cowens was all heart, and he poured buckets of sweat and even some blood at times for the Celtics, his teammates, Auerbach and Heinsohn. He was always diving on the floor for loose balls, and devouring rebounds whenever the ball was within an arms length reach and then some.
In a day where athletes are overpaid divas and who go by whatever their agent tells them, it’s always good to look back and reflect on players, such as Cowens, who gave everything they got to the game in order to win.
Here are some highlights from his career.
Photo (cc) by murphman61 and republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.