From the basketball stars to the championship trophies, see highlights from the life of the legendary Celtics coach.
Reaction to the death of Boston Celtics Hall of Fame coach Red Auerbach. He died of a heart attack Saturday at 89:
“I think Arnold was an absolute giant in the field. I have been around a lot of competitive people, but his commitment to winning was absolute — nothing was more important. He was relentless and produced the greatest basketball dynasty so far that this country has ever seen and certainly that the NBA has ever seen. This is a personal loss for me, Arnold and I have been together since 1950. I was fortunate that I was able to attend a function with him Wednesday night when he was honored by the United States Naval Memorial Foundation in Washington, and I am so glad now that I took the time to be there and spend a few more moments with him.”
— Bob Cousy, the Hall of Fame guard who played for Auerbach.
“Nobody has had as much impact on a sport as Red Auerbach had on the game of basketball. He was a pioneer of the NBA. He left his philosophy of winning championships, playing hard and playing as a team with several generations of players. He was truly a great manager of people because he got people to commit to who they were as people and what their role was on the team. He was exceptional at listening and motivating people to put out their very best. In my playing days he once gave me a loaded cigar and six months later I gave him one that was our relationship. We had a tremendous amount of fun and the game of basketball will never see anyone else like him.”
— Hall of Famer Tom Heinsohn, the current Boston broadcaster who played and coached for Auerbach.
“Red Auerbach was one of the most influential people in my life. Not only was he an inspiration to me throughout my career, he became a close friend as well. There could only be one Red Auerbach and I’ll always be grateful for having the opportunity to experience his genius and his dedication to winning through teamwork.”
— Larry Bird.
“Beyond his incomparable achievements, Red had come to be our basketball soul and our basketball conscience. The void left by his death will never be filled.”
— NBA commissioner David Stern.
“Red was a true champion and one whose legacy transcends the Celtics and basketball. He was the gold standard in coaching and in civic leadership, and he set an example that continues today. We all knew and loved Red in the Kennedy family. He joined my first campaign for Senate, and President Kennedy tried never to miss a game. We were so fortunate to be able to go to the Boston Garden in its heyday and watch Red make magic, but more than being a legendary coach and Boston institution, Red was a person of the highest caliber with a heart and generosity that knew no bounds. When my son Teddy was receiving treatment, Red always made the time to stop by and visit him, which meant the world to all of us. With every whistle that blows for the Boston Celtics, Red’s spirit is celebrated and his memory cherished. He was loved and never will be forgotten.”
— Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts.
“I was very fortunate to have known Red. He traded for me and brought me to Boston as a player, then hired me as an assistant and head coach. I have a lot of fond memories working with Red from all our lunches in Chinese restaurants listening to him share his stories and experiences. He is the godfather of all the Celtics.”
— Philadelphia 76ers pro personnel scout Chris Ford, who played and coached for the Celtics.
“He really was a pioneer, coach, executive, ambassador and leader, all in one — not just for the Celtics but for the entire NBA.”
— Seattle SuperSonics general manager Rick Sund, who knew Auerbach since entering the league in 1974 with Milwaukee.
“I was fortunate to be invited to the China Doll restaurant to talk basketball with Red and his basketball buddies. He presided like he was the Speaker of the House — everyone deferred to his superior basketball best judgment. He was a wise man, and he would have been Speaker of the House if he had decided to be a politician. He was a good Democrat who liked talking about politics as much as he liked talking about basketball. He was a natural leader, he was strong, and he knew how to build individuals into teams. It was my honor to be his friend for 30 years. He was one of the greatest men I have ever met.”
— Rep. Edward J. Markey, senior member of Massachusetts’ congressional delegation.
“It’s a sad day not only for the Auerbach family, the Celtics family, but also for Red’s legion of friends and admirers worldwide. ... He was the greatest of all time at what he did. Red was absolutely a genius. By far the smartest and most intuitive person I’ve ever met in or out of the game of basketball. In terms of human relations, I mean he absolutely could get to the core of what made anybody tick, motivate them to succeed.”
— Chris Wallace, Celtics general manager in interview on Fox TV
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