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NBA BEAT - NBA is Back RED AUERBACH Is Not

 

Red Auerbach - photo Steve Lipofsky Basketballphoto.com

Robert Parish - Maxi Basket photo/B. Drake

 

 

James Loving - National Radio Text Service

 

Born in Brooklyn, New York Red Auerbach came from the world of in your face not save your face

 

Monday December 11, 2006

RED AUERBACH THE GREATEST NBA COACH OF ALL REMEMBERED

Born in Brooklyn, New York Red Auerbach came from the world of in your face not save your face as in Asia.

It was that background that gave him the foundation to be a pioneer in the NBA. He came from the world of reality and was recognized a tough no bullshit coach that earned his players respect.

Auerbach earned his badge as a pioneer when in 1950, his first year as the Boston Celtics coach he chose Chuck Cooper the NBA's first black player selected in an NBA Draft.

In 1956 he made what many consider the greatest NBA deal of all time when in a trade he obtained Bill Russell from the St. Louis Hawks.

Russell went on to be considered the greatest player in NBA history.

In 1966 he hired Russell to become the coach of the Celtics making Russell the first back coach in the NBA.

His 1963-64 team had the first all black starting lineup with Russell, K. C. Jones, Sam Jones, Tom Sanders and Willie Naulls.

Russell said of Auerbach, "I never knew anyone who played for Red who didn't like him...Of course, I never knew anyone who played against him who did like him."

I witnessed that respect and love for Auerbach by his players at the 1992 NBA All-star game in Orlando, Florida.

At a round table press event Auerbach sat smoking his well known cigar at a table with a load of his former players surrounding him. I asked Auerbach a question to which he gave me a short humorous answer.

His players broke out in laughter and I broke out in embarrassment. But that was Red.

He was the guy that I despised because as a fan of the Philadelphia Warriors he kept lighting up that damn cigar. It was known as a victory cigar that he smoked when he knew his team had control of the game and could not lose from that point.

When he lit it up he didn't need Yogi Berra to say "It ain't over till its over," or Dick Motta to say, "It ain't over till the fat lady sings," to Red IT WAS OVER.

To a hometown fan it was an insult when he lit the cigar and in my opinion he lit it too early and too often but the bottom line is his teams won TOO MUCH.

During his 20-year professional coaching career he coached 11 NBA Hall of Fame players. Three-peats were nothing in the age of Auerbach winning was the only thing he seemed to know.

His Boston Celtics teams won nine NBA titles including a record eight in a row from 1959 to 1966.

Auerbach is currently tied with Phil Jackson for the most NBA championship rings as a coach. His 938 wins and 479 losses (.662) career coaching record currently ranks fifth all-time in NBA history.

That record stood until Lenny Wilkens broke it in the 1994-95 season. In 1980 the Professional Basketball Writers Association of America named him the greatest professional coach in the history of the NBA.

After he retired from coaching in 1966 he went on to become an executive with the Celtics and was selected as the NBA Executive of the Year in 1980. It was that year that Auerbach made what is considered one of his greatest deals when he persuaded the Golden State Warriors to trade center Robert Parish in exchange for the #1 pick in the draft. Parish became an NBA Hall of Famer.

Red passed away October 22nd, 2006 at the age of 89. He is the greatest professional coach of all time.

John Wooden is the only coach to achieve the legacy that Auerbach has. Wooden did it in the college ranks and coached his teams to 10 NCAA championships including seven in a row.

Having met both of these great men there is one thing in common that stands out about the two greatest coaches of all time…. THEY DEMANDED RESPECT AND GOT IT.


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