Raw footage for the 1986 television special "Once a Star." Footage from the NBA Legends basketball game during the 1986 All-Star weekend. Cazzie Russell (1944-) is interviewed.
00:00Copy video clip URL Color bars. Players can be heard practicing out on the court.
00:47Copy video clip URL Bob Cousy (1928-) dribbles across the court. Four or five players practice shots in the empty stadium.
02:52Copy video clip URL A group of cheerleaders enters the stadium.
03:11Copy video clip URL Producer Tom Weinberg interviews Cazzie Russell in the stands, so that the court is visible behind him.
03:35Copy video clip URL Russell expresses a desire to get involved in college basketball, but is happy with his own career. “You want to be true to yourself, not anybody else. I feel good about what Cazzie has done. I feel good about myself physically and mentally. I feel great that I had an opportunity to do something that you enjoy, and I got paid for it. I got a scholarship. I got an education by way of it. So there are a lot of things that I think I can relate to young players. If you save three or four, you know, you’ve given something back to the game that’s been great for me.” Weinberg and Russell went to college together, at University of Michigan, and they chat briefly about the reunion and sports at the school.
05:24Copy video clip URL Russell talks about trying to coach in the NCAA, as well as his experience coaching in the U.S. Basketball League. He explains his coaching philosophy: “Team concept: You’ve got to believe in him. He’s got to believe in you. You got to respect each other. You’ve got to have fun playing… I can sell basketball to these guys. I can sell the team concept. I can sell defensive concept, offensive concept, depending on what type of personnel that I have. That’s what’s so fascinating to me because it’s a challenge.” In continuing to talk about his coaching methods, Russell emphasizes the need for strong defense.
08:30Copy video clip URL Weinberg is curious about Russell’s intense desire to coach. Russell begins to say that he wants to give back to the game, but his answer is interrupted by the cheerleaders practicing in the background.
10:25Copy video clip URL Russell is proud to be a role model for a younger generation. “That’s what I’m proud about in terms of Cazzie Russell’s life. Maybe some kids could say you know, ‘Caz was a pretty good model, pretty good player, good student, you know, kept his nose clean. Maybe I want to go that way.’ It may not be for everybody but maybe we influence one or two guys. And maybe we can take that same approach and again move into, say, a coaching role, which allows you to stay connected with the game in some form.” The cheerleaders once again interrupt the interview.
11:36Copy video clip URL Russell talks about his upbringing and the community in which he grew up, but is again interrupted by the cheerleaders. Weinberg, Russell, and the crew wait for the cheerleaders to stop rehearsing. Russell tells a story of returning to his high school the previous summer, after the funeral of his high school coach. While he was in town, he talked with the current players and taught them a few things, in order to give back. Weinberg wants to know whether he models his coaching after anyone, but Russell states that he has not modeled himself after one coach in particular, but has adopted a number of different philosophies from many coaches he has admired over the years. He cites his high school coach Larry Hawkins as a major influence over him, because of the discipline he acquired while playing under Hawkins.
16:16Copy video clip URL Weinberg asks Russell about the differences between himself and other famous players. “For me I was really, not square, but I was really conservative… I never really tried to steal the spotlight but I enjoyed what I was doing.” He then states that basketball gave him a vocation. He goes on to talk about his parents and how proud he made them throughout his career. Russell bought his parents a home after he got signed to the New York Knicks.
19:06Copy video clip URL Tape ends.