A View From the Bench

By Red Holzman with Leonard Lewin


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         This is a good little collection of first-hand observations of great players from a trained eye.  They are not biographies, per se, but rather Holzman's observations from when these players played against the Knicks.  Players include Bob Cousy, Bill Russell, Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, John Havlicek, Rick Barry, Elvin Hayes, Dave Cowens, Julius Erving, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Bill Walton.  It also features "matchups", which include Chamberlain-Russell, Dave DeBusschere - Gus Johnson, Earl Monroe-Walt Frazier, Bill Bradley-Havlicek, and Willis Reed-Jabbar (yes, mostly Knicks, but keep in mind that not only would he be able to better analyze those matchups, but also the Knicks were the reigning team of the day.

        There is some biographical information, as well as statistics (in the back), but the strength of the book comes from his eyewitness stories of coaching against these players.  An interesting point-of-view is that when Bob Cousy was player coach of Cincinnati, he put himself in at point guard at the end of a tight game (Oscar Robertson had fouled out).  Holzman talked it up, that Cousy was still great at 40 years old.  In Walt Frazier's book, he took it as a personal affront and chalked it up to Cousy feeding his ego.  It fired up Frazier to play that much better (and he did).

Insight:  3
History:  1951-1978
Readability:  3

A View from the Bench.  Red Holzman with Leonard Lewin.  W.W. Norton & Company.  1980.

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