Sam Jones: The Little Stool That Could, 1962

“Let’s have the fellows who want to play basketball on one side,” said Bill Russell, “and the fellows who want to fight in another place.”

John Havlicek: A Farewell to Remember, 1978

“My suggestion,” said Dave Cowens, the Celtic’s center for the past eight years, “is that they retire his number from the league. Don’t let anyone wear No. 17 again. That’s how much I think John’s meant to the NBA. Just take 17 and stash it up there in lights.”

Ode to a Rookie Referee in Two Takes, 1967

Moser, about to hand the ball to the Celts’ John Havlicek, looked at the agonized Holzman—the Knicks were 16 points behind—and said firmly, “That’s enough,” without exclamation point.

Remember When St. Louis Won the NBA Title in 1958?

“We were a mixture of the old and the new, both in experience and style of play. The long jump shot was just catching on in the league and practically none of our players used it.”

Red Auerbach Rates Basketball’s Best Battlers, 1973

It brought back memories of Auerbach’s Celtic battlers of the past, of Russell breaking Jim Krebs’ jaw, of Loscutoff decking Dick Schnittker with one punch, and of Brannum flattening Dolph Schayes.

Red Auerbach: An Old Friend’s Telling You to Hang ‘Em Up, 1979

Heed those words, Red. Sit back, light up a cigar and relax. You don’t need the aggravation anymore.

Bill Sharman: The Shooter, 1965

What made Sharman’s shooting so remarkable was its purity. He shot with almost robot-like precision, his style so polished and precise that it seemed like an illustration for a book on how to play basketball.