By Matt London
Published September 11, 2019
Fox News Anchor and Chief National Correspondent Ed Henry was on hand, as a guest of NBA legend Bob Cousy, when the 91-year-old former basketball player and coach, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Donald Trump last month.
In Season 3 of Fox Nation's "Front Row Seat", Henry revealed the behind the scenes details of his special access to that historic event and his exclusive interview with the Hall of Fame Boston Celtic's point guard, coach, and broadcaster.
Henry previously interviewed Cousy in Season 1 of "Front Row Seat" and they have kept in touch.
"Cousy and I struck up a friendship in recent years, so he invited me to be part of a small group of his guests accompanying him to the White House... After leaving the Oval Office, we moved to the historic Roosevelt Room, named of course for both FDR and Teddy Roosevelt, and Cousy seemed to be drinking in the history," wrote Henry in his coverage for Fox News.
"You’ve got something special hanging off of your neck, since the last time I saw you," said Henry, gesturing to the Presidential Medal of Freedom hanging around Cousy's neck.
“The Presidential Medal of Freedom, is the epitome. It’s the end of the life circle for me. I can stop chasing the bouncing ball…there’s really nothing more to accomplish for me. I’m a happy camper, and I’m the luckiest s.o.b. on the planet,” said Cousy.
Henry asked Cousy for his thoughts on the president, who only moments before, had presented him with that honor.
"I'll be honest. I didn't say it in there, but I didn't vote for the President in ," Cousy laughed, "But for a lot of obvious reasons, he's got my vote in 2020"
Cousy also discussed why he has avoided joining a political party, saying he and his wife were, "registered independent for 63 years because we wanted to make a determination based on every issue that came up. We didn't want to be locked into an ideology where -- no matter what the issue was -- you were expected to go one way or the other."
During the event, Trump underscored Cousy's accomplishments on and off the basketball court, including his dedication to the pursuit of equal rights for all Americans.
"Bob was also a passionate advocate for equality and justice. At Holy Cross, he wrote his senior thesis on the persecution faced by minorities. While playing for the Celtics, Bob heard that his friend, Chuck Cooper, the first African-American drafted into the NBA could not stay in the same hotel as the rest of the team in the segregated South. Bob responded by leaving the state with his teammate," recounted the President.
Cousy told Henry that he has always rejected the mentality of racism and prejudice. "I didn't understand bigotry in 1950...it baffles me still. My simple solution is that I think it is basically an insecurity. The animal is vulnerable and someone is different and 'Hey, they are going to take something from us.'"
"In private, you talk a lot about, in your later years, wanting to do more. You've said you wished you reached out to a black teammate, like Bill Russell for example," said Henry, referring to a 1963 incident when someone broke into Russell's home and vandalized it.
"I knew the suffering Russell had gone through...I had always an excellent relationship with the media...they listened to me and I thought I should have done more," said Cousy.
In "Front Row Seat", Henry speaks to legendary sports coaches, players and commentators to hear their personal stories and pull back the curtain on their storied careers. To see more, visit Fox Nation and join today.
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