let me tell you a story (part too)-red auerbach with john feinstein

“Right from the beginning, Red was an innovator, with a remarkable eye for detail. During his first season, he came up with the idea of a ‘sixth man’.” (50)

“In many ways, Red is a classic Depression kid, even at eighty-six. He is more than willing to spend money-especially on his family and friends-but sees no reason to waste money.” (200)

“…the first thing you’re offered is almost never the best deal you can get.” (23)

“One year, Red came up with the idea of playing Sunday afternoon games in the Boston Arena, an older five-thousand seat building located a short drive from the Garden. ‘The idea was to sell every ticket in the building for a dollar,’ he said. ‘First come, first serve, no reserved seats. It would give people who might not be able to afford an expensive ticket a chance to see the game up close if they were willing to wait in line for a little while…’” (69)

“Everyone who follows basketball knows that Red played a major role in integrating the game. In addition to being one of the first teams to sign a black player and draft a black player (same year), the Celtics were the first team to start five black players. And, of course, in 1966 Russell became the first African-American head coach in a major professional league. It wasn’t until 1974 that Major League Baseball had a black manager, and remarkably, it wasn’t until 1989 that the modern NFL had an African-American head coach. Red laughs when the subject of breaking down racial barriers comes up.” (302)

“Red has always been gracious in victory.” (316)

on this new year’s eve, today’s passages are dedicated to red auerbach‘s legacy. most times when there is a co-writer in a sports book, people are quick to claim that it’s because players can’t read and write, but i’m glad for this partnership not only because it was part of the story, but also because i don’t think that red would’ve freely written all these things about himself, and though the city of boston would’ve never let his memory die, time does go on, and there have been full generations of basketball fans who have no idea who he was and what all he did for the game.

his business savvy, his true love for the game and for the city of boston and the celtics, his strict no-cheerleader policy (since cancelled, i’m sure, but i’m comforted in knowing that there was at least one time and one team that checked for the wives and girlfriends of the players and thus it could happen again), the tuesday lunches, his giveaways and innovative ways to sell seats to the truest fans, his never letting the refs get away with anything, and his speaking up against the phony behaviour of making folks shake hands after the game when your whole goal is to tear them apart up to minutes before-i’d like to shoutout his memory for all of these things, and i’m sure a million more that i will never know. bigup.

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