Loscy: Basketball's First and Last Enforcer
"What we need are basketball players."-Kevin McHale
Before Kevin McHale was even born, Jim "Loscy" Loscutoff was what the Celtics needed:a basketball player.The 1954-55 Celtics were the first team to average over 100 points in NBA History.Despite their scoring prowess, they were still one of the worst teams in the league becauseof their defense. They were entertainers not basketball players, and Loscy was brought in tochange that.Loscy, at 6'5, was a lot like future Celtic Bill Russell in being
undersized for his position
(he played both forward spots and covered centers) but
a defensive master because of hissmarts as well as his strength.
That the Celtics won a championship the season after drafting him (also buoyed by draft pick Bob Cousy) was no coincidence.The Boston Celtics Encyclopediadescribes him as the following:"Basketball has had few enforcers whose singular role on the floor seemed to be physical intimidation of more talented opponents.Unlike hockey, basketball is not structured to allow for such a roleor such a style of knock-down, drag-out play...Yet "Jungle Jim"Loscutoff provided the NBA's closest ever model for such amuscle-bound prototype.""Jungle Jim" would go on to win 7 championships in his 9 seasons as the Celtics enforcer.And in true enforcer fashion,
he was willing to give up glory for another player, askingthat his number 18 not be retired in order that a future Celtics player would wear it.
He would get his wish when 18 years later Dave Cowens wore it. The Celtics retired thenumber of their franchise record holder in career pointsin 1981.Who knows? Maybe if "Loscy" did not retire his nickname instead of his number, Cowenswould not have scored all those points and the Celtics would be down two championships.- Dean O.
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