Red Auerbach Rumors

Bill Russell: In December of 1956, already two months into the season because I was competing in the Olympics, I began my career as a Boston Celtic. The team had had a Black player before me, Chuck Cooper, but when I arrived, I was the only Black person on a team of white guys. The Boston Celtics proved to be an organization of good people––from Walter Brown to Red Auerbach, to most of my teammates. I cannot say the same about the fans or the city. During games people yelled hateful, indecent things: “Go back to Africa,” “Baboon,” “Coon,” “Nigger.” I used their unkindness as energy to fuel me, to work myself into a rage, a rage I used to win.
4 days ago via SLAM
As racial unrest exploded in cities across the U.S., Celtics general manager Red Auerbach believed playing would keep people off the streets. “So, of course we had to go out compete, but in the back of our minds, the Sixers and Celtics players shared grief and were visibly upset and disturbed about what had happened. But we still went out and played,” said Embry, who is now the Toronto Raptors’ senior basketball adviser. The mood was eerie that night The Spectrum as the Celtics beat Philly 127-118.
Brown was caught in the middle. His story from that ’90 first-round playoff series — which Brown shared with the Daily News — is among the wackiest and more amusing we’ve encountered. Over the course of just one playoff game, Brown went from being fired by Red Auerbach because of a flippant comment from Bird to becoming the Knicks’ lucky charm during their improbable comeback.
“This guy Pete, he was in charge of the ballboys, he comes in and says, ‘We have to let you go. Red Auerbach saw you cheering for the Knicks,’” Brown says. “I started laughing. ‘Everybody is trying to prank me, you got me.’ He says it again: ‘You’ve been fired for cheering for the Knicks.’” Brown learned later that Bird noticed his traitorous cheers while the Celtics were reviewing film of Game 1. Bird made an offhand comment about Brown’s allegiance and Auerbach, the Celtics GM/icon, overheard it. “Red Auerbach happens to be in there. Evidently, he took what Larry said as Larry being upset, like I was not a true Celtic,” Brown says. “He tells the equipment manager Wayne Lebeaux to get rid of me, not realizing that Larry was playing.”
It was Auerbach who nixed Parker and insisted that North Carolina shooting guard Joe Forte be the team’s pick at No. 21, a fact confirmed in recent days by several league executives familiar with the Celtics decision on what would become a fateful night for the Spurs. Auerbach, one executive said, remained skeptical of European point guards. Plus, he had seen many of Forte’s games when Forte was a star for DeMatha Catholic High School, the famed hoops program in Hyattsville, Md., run by Auerbach’s friend, legendary prep coach Morgan Wootten.
“You know who caused flopping?” Crawford said. “Us. When we fell for it and we call it. There’s a beautiful video out from the ’60s with (former Boston Celtics coach) Red Auerbach and (former NBA referee) Mendy Rudolph talking about flopping. That’s how long it’s been around. We caused it by falling for our players’ flops. It was our own ineptness. “If you’re going to get fooled once, don’t get fooled twice. That’s what we teach. So if you’ve got a player that’s flopping all the time, don’t call it the next time because the guys are so smart, they’re going to flop. If they can’t get away with it, they’re going to keep getting away from it. They’re going to try it.”
Jack MacMullan: In the book, you lament the fact you weren’t more in tune with the kind of racism Russell endured. Bob Cousy: I didn’t become aware of Russ’ problems until later. He came to the team, and we had K.C. [Jones] and Sam Jones, and they were all an integral part of our success. Arnold [Red Auerbach] deserves credit for how he handled the integration of the Celtics. He handled it easily, by treating everybody the same: badly.
2 years ago via ESPN
When he joined the Celtics in 1975, Scott was considered a high-volume shooter and a me-first player. Red Auerbach traded promising guard Paul Westphal for Scott, who blended in immediately to the Celtics fabric. Scott was the third-leading scorer on the team that won Boston’s second title in three years. Charlie Scott, shown in 1976, played for the Celtics from 1975 to 1977.
The Boston Police Department is facing heavy criticism online for a now-deleted Twitter post for Black History Month that celebrated a white man. The original post on the department’s official Twitter account Sunday was in honor of former Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach. The department tweeted that it was paying tribute to Auerbach for being the first NBA coach to draft a black player, start five African-American players, and hire the NBA’s first African-American head coach.
2 years ago via ESPN
“Unfortunately for us as Knicks fans, if Phil Jackson had been coaching all year, we would’ve won more games,’’ Reed told The Post. “His toughness and ability to make guys concentrate, that’s what I loved about him as a coach. He got guys to play harder and smarter.” According to Reed, it is less a health issue with Jackson, 71, and more an 11-rings mindset of “Let the record stand for itself.” Reed said he thinks Jackson still can reach modern players. “When I was a young player, the most impressive coach for me would’ve been Red Auerbach because of his record,’’ Reed said. “Same thing with Phil Jackson with his record in Chicago and L.A. I’d want to play for Phil Jackson. He’s got a history with Kobe, Jordan and Shaquille and made them champions.”
Storyline: Knicks Front Office
“I think the thing that separates [Thomas] from other players is his quickness,” Havlicek said. “Red Auerbach always said it’s not how fast you are, it’s how quick you are. He certainly is quick with the ball and he’s also low to the ground and gets to places where other people can’t because of their size. I think he’s been an absolute delight to watch.”
And Riley, more than the other three, was an opportunist — he never stopped looking for a better situation or another advantage. Riley was blessed with Popovich’s attention to culture and Jackson’s savviness for aligning with special players, but really, the dude has been more Auerbachian than he’d ever admit. We remember Auerbach as an insane competitor who never stopped looking for the next edge. Sound familiar? Once upon a time, Riley despised Auerbach’s Celtics so much that, during one mid-’80s practice at Boston Garden, he asked his trainer to dump the Lakers’ water barrel because he actually feared Auerbach had tried to poison it. But Auerbach is the only other NBA executive in 70 years, dead or alive, who could have pulled off LeBron and Bosh in the summer of 2010. Nobody else had enough foresight or charisma. It’s two people and two people only.
Maxwell freely admitted it was difficult watching Fred Roberts and Mikki Moore wear No. 31 before it was retired. And he suggested that the Celtics formulate a list — with the help of a committee of former players, executives, and public relations employees — of players whose numbers would be considered untouchable. Obviously, No. 2 (Red Auerbach), 6 (Russell), 17 (Havlicek), and 33 (Bird) would be on that list. But what about 18 (Cowens), 21 (Bill Sharman), 22 (Ed Macauley), 23 (Frank Ramsey), 24 (Sam Jones), and 25 (K.C. Jones)? Would No. 15 (Heinsohn), 16 (Tom Sanders) or 19 (DonNelson) be considered untouchable?
Rivers, who led the Celtics to the 2008 NBA championship and to Game 7 of the Finals in 2010, said he still feels a strong bond with the organization. “It’s more because of the Celtics and more because of Red Auerbach,” Rivers said. “When you’re a Celtic, you become a Celtic, you stay a Celtic no matter where you’re at, and you always want them to do well. That’s what stood out for me there. When we won it, looking at Tommy Heinsohn almost in tears because we won, I thought was the most amazing thing I have ever seen. I’ll never forget that and that will always be a part of me, so yeah, I want them to do great. Probably two games, I don’t. It is nice being in the West than in the East, then you can cheer for them a little bit more.”
Amazing as Auerbach’s last admission sounds for the man who’s been making Boston’s draft picks and trades, other general managers say it’s the truth. “I think Red is probably the greatest general manager and coach we’ve ever had in this league up to this point,” says Donnie Walsh, now in his fourth season as the Indiana Pacers’ team president and GM. “I’ve read all his books, but I don’t think I’ve ever personally talked to him.”
And if Auerbach were still alive and running the Celtics today, there’s at least one person who thinks he also wouldn’t have traded Pierce and Garnett. “I would have bet money that he wouldn’t have done it,” Auerbach’s daughter, Randy Auerbach, told Yahoo Sports. “I don’t know everything that has happened of late, but what I knew of my dad, I don’t see him making that trade. “I would guarantee he wouldn’t have traded them. I’m definite in that.”
“In 1989, Larry had a bad back and two Achilles tendon surgeries and Kevin had a screw put in his foot. They weren’t the same,” Ainge said. “They weren’t near the same players from that point on that they were in 1985, ’86 and ’87 when they were two of the best players in all of basketball.” Randy Auerbach said her father never seriously considered trading Bird and McHale. And if he had, her mother, Dorothy, would have talked him out of it. Randy Auerbach also said the Boston media would have “ostracized” her father if he traded two of the franchise’s biggest stars. “Knowing my father, I don’t think trading them was an option,” Randy Auerbach said. “If you look at his track record, he had more players start and finish their careers with the Celtics than any other team. That’s Celtic pride. “Players didn’t come and go then. I don’t recognize half the team now.”
If anyone knows what it takes to thrive in times like these, it’s Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell. The 11-time champion took part in 10 Game 7’s, including five in the Finals — winning all 10 times and becoming the league’s all-time leader in the category that matters most. “(Celtics coach) Red (Auerbach) used to have a phrase he used: ‘I don’t give a damn what they’re going to do; This is what we’re going to do.’ ” Russell told USA TODAY Sports. “The difference, especially in a seventh game, is ‘Can I take my team and do what we do best?’ And I’m going to respect the other team. The more I respect them — without fear, but respect — the better my chances are.”
Tony Parker knows his audience. He knows the British reference points, and what they care about, which is why he responded the way he did when an English reporter asked him about Gregg Popovich. Parker didn’t compare him to Red Auerbach or to Vince Lombardi. He also didn’t compare him to Vinny Del Negro. Parker compared him to to Sir Alex Ferguson. For those who don’t know: Ferguson manages some for Manchester United.
He pointed out major companies such as General Electric have been using advanced analysis for years. It’s just that nobody follows GE production efficiency or product flow like they do the Red Sox’ run production. “It’s not hocus-pocus,’’ said Zarren. “Some of the things I do, teams have been doing since 1946. It’s not magic. There happens to be scientific techniques that people have developed to look at data sets. We have some data sets, so why not look at them?’’ Hard to envision Red Auerbach parsing data sets. Zarren met Red once. How did he explain to the Patriarch of the Parquet exactly what he does for the Celtics? “Danny just said, ‘He works for me,’ ’’ Zarren said with a grin.
“Easy” Ed Macauley was at the center of one of the most important trades in NBA history: He was the key man sent from Boston to the St. Louis Hawks in exchange for just-drafted Bill Russell. Of course, Russell and Red Auerbach’s Celtics now seem fated for one another, forever linked by their 11 championships, but Big Russ might never have landed in Boston had Easy Ed just said no. Celtics owner Walter Brown actually asked the 6-8, 190-pound center—an All-Star in each of his six seasons in Boston and the MVP of the very first ASG—for permission to ship him to St. Louis. Ed was happy to return to his hometown, so Hawks GM Marty Blake (yes, that Marty Blake) agreed to take Russell with the second pick in the ’56 Draft and ship him to Boston in exchange for second-year pro Macauley and Cliff Hagan, the former Kentucky star returning from a military stint.
9 years ago via SLAM
Younger fans, who have watched the Knicks excel only at ticket prices, front-­office chaos and the decibel level of the Garden’s public-address system, may find the idea of the Knicks as the embodiment of intelligent, disciplined, unselfish play ludicrous. They would be well advised to pick up Harvey Araton’s “When the Garden Was Eden.” It will give them a clear picture of what made the Knicks so endearing, as well as a taste of how overwrought that affection could become. The Knicks, after all, never came close to the dynastic record of the Red Auerbach-Bill Russell Boston Celtics, or Phil Jackson’s Chicago Bulls, or his Lakers. Why, then, would accomplished adults like Woody Allen sneak away from a dinner party for a glimpse of a Knicks game (a moment captured in “Annie Hall”)? Why would the advertising legend George Lois spend every game under the basket, screaming obscenities at the refs?
Memories from your days as visiting ballboy before you were Knicks ballboy? Marv Albert: Being in the locker room when Red Auerbach would talk to and inspire his Celtics. And I’ll never forget how Wilt Chamberlain would arrange this with me before the game — he would ask me to go out and get him four hot dogs for halftime. I’d get them late in the second quarter at the concession stand. I’d give them to Wilt and he would just engulf them.
The Celtics will announce later today plans to build a statue to honor Hall of Famer Bill Russell, according to a team source. Russell brought 11 NBA titles to Boston from 1956 to 1969, and carved a legacy on the court and away from it. Details regarding the style and location of the statue are not known. Considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time, as well as one of the game’s most dominant defenders, Russell won more championships than anyone in NBA history, anchoring teams led by Red Auerbach, his coach and close friend.
A few weeks back, we told you about an online auction that would give fans and collectors the chance to bid on a slew of items that once belonged to Arnold “Red” Auerbach, the legendary Hall of Fame basketball coach and executive who served as the architect of a Boston Celtics dynasty that captured 16 NBA championships in 30 seasons. Auctioneer SCP Auctions told the Boston Herald at the time that the “three-part online sale” was expected “to raise at least $500,000 for Auerbach’s family.” The auction’s opening round closed on May 1 after two weeks of bids, and I think it’s fair to say that it exceeded SCP’s expectations: Winning bids for the 156 items purchased totaled $785,278, according to final price figures listed on SCP’s website.
Heads up, fans. Cigar-chomping Celtics legend Red Auerbach’s personal memorabilia is going on the block. And a Dallas auctioneer who sold a Lou Gehrig jersey last year for $717,000 said that the combination of Auerbach’s own legendary status and the team’s recent revival should make next month’s online auctions a slam dunk. “Red Auerbach is iconic, and items directly from the family will generate quite a bit of interest,” said Chris Ivy, sports auctions director at Heritage Auctions in Texas. “The Celtics are back into winning basketball and winning championships, and even though it’s been a long lapse since Red has been part of the organization, that won’t hurt.”
SCP expects to raise at least $500,000 for Auerbach’s family from a three-part online sale of about 500 mementos from the team’s longtime coach and top executive. “We’re conducting the sale on behalf of Auerbach’s family,” said Dan Imler of SCP Auctions. “They retained certain pieces, but there is quite a lot, and rather than keeping it in storage, they have decided to make it available to fans and collectors through this sale.”