Red Auerbach Rumors
Bill Russell dipped down his newspaper and looked me over with a frown. Then he snorted. “I’m not getting up just to meet some kid.” I shrank to about six inches tall. I just wanted to run straight home. Auerbach chuckled. “Don’t let him get to you, kid. Sometimes he can be a real sourpuss.” He grabbed my wrist and walked me over to Russell. “Bill, be nice. This is the kid who just might be the next you.” Bill looked at me again, this time taking a little longer. I was already 7’, two inches taller than him. I stuck out my hand. “How do you do, Mr. Russell. Pleasure to meet you.” He didn’t smile, but his demeanor had softened, just a little. He shook my hand. “Yeah, yeah, kid.” That’s how I met my childhood hero.
Chiklis makes his first appearance as Auerbach in the HBO series “Winning Time” in Episode 2 and talked to The Athletic about Auerbach, cigars and more. Being from Massachusetts, what’s it like to play such a major figure in the history of Boston sports? Michael Chiklis: It’s thrilling and terrifying all at the same time and everything in between, as you might expect. On the one hand, I get to play Red Auerbach. On the other hand, I have to play Red Auerbach. I just wish my dad was alive to see this because he was just such a massive Red Auerbach fan and he used to literally just preach about him. He really understood what he was, who he was and what he meant to the Celtics. And he used to talk about these things when I was a kid, about what a collaborator he was, what a forward-thinking guy he was and how he worked with his teams in a way that no other coach worked with their teams. That he wasn’t some dictatorial guy who just told guys, “This is my team and you’re going to play and that’s it.” He understood that. It’s a thrill to get to play the great Red Auerbach.
Michael Chiklis: Remember, Red Auerbach came from the sport. He played the sport. He lived the sport. He breathed the sport. Jerry Buss was a businessman who late in his life, relatively, went, “I love basketball. I think I’m going to buy a basketball team. I think this is going to be fun.” Just totally different philosophies, totally different outlooks. And I think right away if you’re going to look at something from a point of view and a philosophical standpoint, you have to look at Red and go he must have looked at Jerry Buss and thought, “What the hell is this interloper doing? What does he think he’s doing? He thinks he’s just going to buy this?” I’m sure he was very put off by him, at least initially and he underestimated him a bit because of that. Conversely for Buss, it probably lit a fire under his ass to beat Red. That dismissiveness probably made him go, “You don’t realize what a competitor I am.” It really set the pick for an incredible rivalry that again was the face of all sports, not just the NBA.
Emmy award-winning actor Michael Chiklis, known for his roles in “The Shield” and “Fantastic Four”, stars as Celtics’ legend Red Auerbach in HBO’s new series on the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty”. Chiklis is a native of Lowell and attended Boston University from 1981 to 1985 and grew up a fan of the Boston Celtics.
“He made an atmosphere that created great teams,” Chiklis said. “I’m happy to represent Boston in that way and especially as the winningest coach in any sport’s history.” Chiklis added he wished his father, who was also a huge Celtics fan, was still alive to see him play Auerbach. “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty” premieres on HBO on March 6.
NBA PR: The NBA today unveiled the 15 Greatest Coaches in NBA History as part of the continuing celebration of the league’s 75th Anniversary Season. The list was selected by a panel of 43 current & former NBA head coaches in collaboration with the National Basketball Coaches Association.
Jones averaged 4.6 points per game his rookie season, but Auerbach liked his speed, intelligence and team-first approach. When Sharman was sidelined by injuries early in the 1960-61 season, Jones got his shot to start and became a fixture on the championship teams. “Sam was one of the great shooters of all time,” Auerbach once said. “But he was team-oriented. All he wanted to do was win. … The great athletes, they played for pride.”