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First Person

Celtics Hall of Famer Dave Cowens plans for a busy summer

The former player will launch a basketball camp program with the team, after 40 years running his own.

Photograph by John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

“I really marvel at the power and the speed and the size of the players today,” says

When everybody thinks about basketball, they think about the 3-point shot, the dunk, and blah, blah, blah. But it’s all the little things that make up players before they can do easily what they see on TV. I want campers to get a very broad understanding of what it takes to become A DECENT BASKETBALL PLAYER in terms of the commitment and the different skills.

In 1972, I did the first basic overnight boys and girls combined camp. No one had done that before. It was either all boys or all girls. I thought, “If I’m starting a business, I’m not going to eliminate half the population.” IT WAS BEFORE TITLE IX, before everything, but the girls were paying customers, too. And they wanted to play.

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The reason I’ve been successful all these years is that I stayed in the dorm with the kids. I ate the cafeteria food with the kids. I was down on the courts with them. I still get after it. MY SHOT’S OK. IT’S LIKE RIDING A BIKE. Once you get it greased up, it all comes back to you.

I was doing an appearance with the Boston Celtics at the new Garden, and I go into a Celtics store. They’re selling T-shirts and jerseys with players’ names on them, and I said, “Hey, YOU GOT ANY DAVE COWENS JERSEYS in here?” And the guy said, “Who?” I just cracked up. I thought it was the funniest thing. It doesn’t bother me at all. Kids are interested in what’s going on right now. I was the same way. I don’t expect them to know who I was. But nowadays, their parents tell ’em, and then they’ll go and Google you. They’ll find out what you’re all about.

— As told to Shira SpringerInterview has been edited and condensed.
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