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Thursday, November 24, 2011

4 Faces of Cowens

The emotions and facial expressions of basketball coaches often provide better photos than the game action.

Boston’s Dave Cowens displays a range of emotion and intensity during his debut as player coach against the Denver Nuggets, as the Celtics won to end a six-game losing streak (© Michael Maher, The Lowell (Ma.) Sun).

The Photo:
Dave Cowens of the Boston Celtics was one of the NBA’s most emotional players. As a 6”9” center, he needed to play with intensity to be successful against opposing centers who were much taller and stronger. Earlier in his career, Cowens was called for a series of cheap fouls during a game, and he ran across the court hard into the Rockets’ Mike Newlin, knocked him to the floor, proclaiming to the referee, “Now THAT’S a foul!” He once took some time off and drove a Boston cab because he wanted a break from the intensity of NBA life. So it was no surprise when Cowens, who was in his first game as Celtic coach while also still a player, leaped off the bench to exhort his teammates and direct referees during a tense time of a tight game. Positioning myself between the team benches, I used a long lens to capture several close-ups of Cowens’ many expressions, and published the four best. (I was a bit too close on one picture where I missed the tip of Cowens’ index finger.) The photos also reflected how frustrating it was for Cowens to play for and coach the Celtics that season, after John Havilcek had retired and before the Larry Bird era. These photos were transmitted via the wire services around the country, and you will still occasionally see one of them published whenever there is a story about Dave Cowens. Good close-up photos of famous people will often be reused for years.

3 Tips:
1) Emotional coaches can provide outstanding sports feature photos.
2) Sit near the player benches and concentrate on the coach for an extended period of time.
3) Close-ups are the best pictures, so use longer lenses as much as possible.

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