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.
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.