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Remembering Celtics Legend Red Auerbach During the NBA Finals

Red Auerbach and Bill Russel

Red Auerbach was an NBA coach for the Boston Celtics, Washington Capitals and the Tri-Cities Blackhawks. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, to two Russian immigrants. Red also served in the U.S. Navy from 1943-47. It was not until Walter Brown, owner of the Boston Celtics, asked Red in 1950 to coach his failing and financially strapped franchise. This, arguably, could prove to be the single most important hiring in the history of Boston sports. It did not take long for Auerbach to make a impact, during the 1950 NBA draft, Auerbach drafted future Hall of Fame point guard Bob Cousy.

Auerbach also broke the color barrier in basketball, drafting the first African American player in Chuck Cooper. Then in 1956 NBA draft, Red drafted the single best player to ever suit up in a Celtics uniform, a man by the name of Bill Russell. Red went above and beyond to be in the position to draft this future dominant player that was said to be better than Michael Jordan by Phil Jackson, who coached Jordan to his six titles in Chicago. Thanks to Red and Russell, the Celtics created a dynasty, winning 11 titles in 13 years and becoming the most dominating team in the NBA.

Thanks to Red, the Celtics have won an NBA-best 17 championships, which is still a record to this day. Red was also known as one of the only coaches in the NBA who would choose players based on talent and motivation, regardless of skin color or ethnicity.

Red was a great writer, as he wrote seven books. Some of his works have been translated into seven languages and have been awarded best sellers.

After Red stepped down as coach of the Boston Celtics, a position he later gave to player coach Bill Russell, he then served as general manager from 1966-1984. In 1978 Red would draft another superstar and an all time NBA great Larry Bird. The Celtics won another championship in 1986, with Red as the President. Red served as the Vice Chairman and President from 1984-2006.

Many remember Red Auerbach for accomplishing a feat that still to this day has not been done in the NBA and perhaps ever will: winning nine consecutive NBA championships.

Red was not only a great coach but a even better mentor, always willing to help and listen to his players. Many of Red’s players would go on to coach and be successful in the NBA, such as Celtics greats Tommy Heinsohn and Bill Russell.

Red passed away at the age of 89 due to heart complications in October of 2006. The Celtics hold a yearly award in his name, as the trophy is awarded to the player that exemplifies the true spirit and heart of a being a Celtic.

Significance to Boston Sports

  • Held all time record for wins at time with 938 wins as a NBA coach
  • Broke the color barrier in basketball
  • Won a record 9 titles consecutively
  • Drafted future NBA Hall of Famer’s in Larry Bird, Bill Russell and Bob Cousy
  • Mentored future Celtic Coaches such as Bill Russell and Tommy Heinsohn, both of which won multiple titles for the Celtics franchise
  • Named NBA’a greatest coach of all time in 1980 by the professional basketball writers association of America

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Brian Webber

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  • College: University of MA, Boston
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