The Last Pass by Gary Pomerantz takes an alternative look at the powerhouse that was the Boston Celtics in the 1950’s and 60’s. After the Celtics’ practice on Tuesday afternoon, head coach Brad Stevens said that he read the book and enjoyed it, calling it a “must-read” for basketball and history buffs.
At the heart of the Celtics was the combo of Bob Cousy and Bill Russell, and at the heart of the country laid the Civil Rights Movement. As Russell became publicly involved, tensions rose, and Cousy feels he didn’t truly understand how serious some of the repercussions were. Pomerantz does a wonderful job of showing how this dynasty was right in the thick of powerful social change.
Reiterating what Stevens said, this book is perfect for Celtics fans and history buffs alike. Pomerantz tells the story of Red Auerbach attempting to acquire a west-coat big man in the mid-1950’s. Of course, that man was Bill Russell, but the inside scouting reports on the 6-10 legend takes you into what scouting was like at that time. Auerbach had a network of coaches and former players reporting to him on Russell. To no one’s surprise, each and every report raved about his skills, and in turn, Auerbach told these connections to put a good word in about the Celtics. When Auerbach heard Harvard’s head coach say Russell had no chance of making it in the NBA, he noted (so everyone could here), “He’s full of s**t.” Around the same time, Cousy met Russell for the first time at a White House event promoting fitness. Pomerantz tells the story of the initial meeting, but the two had no idea what was ahead of them.
The Last Pass by Gary Pomerantz is out now in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook formats.