This 1980’s ESPN SportsLook with Roy Firestone features his tribute to the one and only Red Auerbach….who coached and was general manager / team president for the Boston Celtics for 29 years….while being involved in 16 NBA Championships during his tenure.
Arnold Jacob “Red” Auerbach was an American basketball coach of the Washington Capitols, the Tri-Cities Blackhawks and the Boston Celtics….where upon retiring from coaching….he served as president and front office executive of the Celtics until his death. As a coach, he won 938 games (a record at his retirement) and 9 NBA championships in ten years….a number surpassed only by Phil Jackson….who won 11 in twenty years. As general manager and team president of the Celtics….Red won an additional 7 NBA titles, for a grand total of 16 in a span of 29 years….thus making him one of the most successful team officials in the history of North American professional sports.
Auerbach is remembered as a pioneer of modern basketball….having redefined basketball as a game dominated by team play and defense….and for introducing the fast break as a potent offensive weapon….which helped him groom many players who went on to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame….including Bob Cousy, Don Nelson, Ed Macauley, Bill Russell, Bill Sharman, Frank Ramsey, John Havlicek, Sam Jones, K. C. Jones, Nate Archibald, Tom Heinsohn, Bailey Howell and Satch Sanders. Additionally, Auerbach was vital in breaking down color barriers in the NBA…as he made history by drafting the first African-American NBA player, Chuck Cooper in 1950….while introducing the first African-American starting five in 1964…. and hiring the first African-American head coach in North American sports with Bill Russell in 1966. Famous for his polarizing nature, he was well known for smoking a cigar when he thought a victory was assured…. a habit that became “the ultimate symbol of victory” during his Boston tenure.
In 1967, the NBA Coach of the Year award….which he had won in 1965….was named the “Red Auerbach Trophy”….and Auerbach was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1969….and in 1980, he was named the greatest coach in the history of the NBA by the Professional Basketball Writers Association of America….and was NBA Executive of the Year in 1980….plus Auerbach was voted one of the NBA 10 Greatest Coaches in history and is honored with a retired number 2 jersey in the TD Garden, the current home of the Boston Celtics.
The tribute to Red Auerbach seen herewith was given by ESPN’s Roy Firestone…. who is an American sports commentator and journalist. Firestone began his career as a sports anchor and reporter in Miami working briefly at WTVJ….then he moved to Los Angeles as a sports anchor for KCBS-TV from 1977–85…..then from 1980 to 1994, he was the host of ESPN’s interview program SportsLook….which was later renamed Up Close. He also served as a color commentator for the ESPN’s first season of Sunday Night NFL Football telecasts in 1987. Currently, he is the host of HDNet’s Face to Face with Roy Firestone and AOL’s Time Out with Roy Firestone.
This thribute to Red Auerbach is literally MUST SEE TV for any Boston Celtic fan or any NBA fan for that matter.