Remembering Red Auerbach: The Legacy of an NBA Legend

On October 28, 2006, an NBA legend passed away. Red Auerbach, first legendary coach in the history of the Great League. A basketball pioneer who orchestrated the Boston Celtics dynasty between 1956 and 1966.

In 2006, the NBA began a new era. The period of domination of the duo Shaq & Kobe is over and three years after their respective entries into the League, the young LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony are now asserting themselves as the new headliners.

In this year 2006, the Great League celebrated the 60th anniversary of Red Auerbach’s debut in the NBA, in a League which in 1946 was named BAA (Basketball Association of America), a world where the champions were then called the Philadelphia Warriors.

October 28, 2006 therefore, the day of Red’s death, also the day of Lula’s election as president of Brazil, a sweet day during which Franco-Chinese relations seemed to calm down after a visit by the president of the republic in the Orient, the day finally when Richard Gasquet made French tennis shine by joining the final of the Lyon tournament… We are sure that this is not a typical day in… 2023?

More seriously, Red Auerbach was then 89 years old and had dedicated his life to the big orange ball. But any words we could use would pale in comparison to those used by Bill Russell to describe his longtime coach.

“I have never met anyone who played under Red Auerbach and didn’t like him. Of course, I never met anyone who played against him and liked him either.”

Red Auerbach has sixteen championship titles, nine as coach and seven as General Manager, all in Boston, built around an assumed tactic: a solid defensive base leading to numerous counterattacks, the beginnings of “run and gun” in short. A leader of men who knew how to boost the morale of his troops while destroying that of his opponents with the flick of a lighter. Indeed, his most famous move was lighting a cigar on the sidelines when he thought victory was assured. On the scale of trashtalking, that’s at the top. Incredible time.

Hall Of Famer, jersey No. 2 retired in Boston and the Coach of the Year trophy named in his honor, Auerbach left an indelible mark on the Big League. He was also voted by the NBA in 1996, obviously, as one of the 10 greatest coaches in history.

But his action extended well beyond the courts, being one of those participating in breaking down ethnic barriers in the NBA. For example, in 1950 he became the first manager to recruit a black player during the NBA Draft and, fourteen years later, he fielded the first major five composed exclusively of black players.

If you want to know even more about the character, Red Auerbach… published six books after his career. Enough to take a basketball lesson from one of his best teachers, certainly.

2023-10-28 14:04:00
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