David W. "Dave" Cowens

What 6-foot-9-inch center Dave Cowens lacked in size he made up for with an aggressive, all-encompassing desire to win. Cowens went full-throttle from the opening tip and played every game with great passion. Rather than follow the traditional notion of a basketball center as a back-to-the-basket pivot man, Cowens roamed the outside, shooting soft jumpers or driving to the basket. The big redhead began playing basketball his junior year in high school, but he still managed to earn a scholarship to Florida State University where he averaged a double-double in points and rebounds. Although criticized for being too small to play center, when Cowens shared the NBA Rookie of the Year Award with Portland's Geoff Petrie in 1971, he quickly silenced any doubters. He averaged a double-double in points and rebounds for his career despite facing opposing centers that physically dwarfed him. Cowens was a key member of the Boston Celtics 1974 and 1976 NBA championship teams.