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NBA – 1985 – Special – Tribute To Celtics Red Auerbach – With Roy Firestone + Stu Black

Red Auerbach (September 20, 1917 – October 28, 2006) was an American basketball coach of the Washington Capitols, the Tri-Cities Blackhawks and the Boston Celtics.  As a coach, he won 938 games…which was a record at his retirement….plus he won nine National Basketball Association (NBA) championships in ten seasons….which Phil Jackson surpassed with 11 titles in eighteen seasons. As general manager and team president of the Celtics, he won an additional seven 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….while redefining the NBA game as a game dominated by team play and defense….and for introducing the fast break as a potent offensive weapon.

Red Auerbach groomed many players who went on to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame….for he was instrumental in breaking down color barriers in the NBA. He made history by drafting the first African-American NBA player, Chuck Cooper in 1950….introduced the first African-American starting five in 1964….and hired the first African-American head coach in North American sports, Bill Russell in 1966.  Famous for his polarizing nature, he was well known for smoking a cigar when he thought a victory was assured….which is a habit that became kind of “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.  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.  In addition, Red Auerbach was voted one of the NBA 10 Greatest Coaches in history…..was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame….and is honored with a retired number 2 jersey in the TD Garden, the home of the Boston Celtics in 2019.

After he retired from coaching, he served as president and front office executive of the Celtics until his death…..and we are so proud to have this splendid tribute to him as originally seen on ESPN Sports Look with Roy Firestone….and guest sports writer Stu Black pay homage to the great Red Auerbach.

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