The city of Boston erected a statue of Auerbach on his 68th birthday in 1985, placing him on a park bench, holding a cigar, near historic Faneuil Hall. Kris Liakos, 24, stopped by to take a picture with the statue after seeing the news of Auerbach’s death on television.
“The statue’s been here since I was a kid,” the 24-year-old Celtics fan said. “That’s the kind of thing that happens to somebody when they die, but he’s been sitting on this bench for 20 years. That’s what he meant to this town.”
Down the street at the TD Banknorth Garden, fans watching the Bruins play the Ottawa Senators could spy the 16 NBA banners hanging from the rafters, along with the No. 2 the Celtics retired in Auerbach’s honor.
“When you think of the Celtics, you think of Red Auerbach,” 46-year-old Dana Letiecq said after the hockey game. “That’s the bottom line.”
Joe O’Leary brought his 13-year-old son, Mark, to the game and to the Auerbach display at the new Garden’s sports museum.
“I don’t smoke many cigars, but whenever I do I think of Red,” the elder O’Leary said.
“Light one more up for Red,” said his brother-in-law, Mike Bohan.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
“(Expletive) the building,” Auerbach said. “We lost a ballgame.”
PBT: San Antonio raced out to a 25-point lead at home, pushed back on Memphis’ big third-quarter run, shut down Zach Randolph and cruised to a 105-83 win.
Video: NBA from NBC Sports
Grizzlies ready for 'running' Spurs
DPS: Lionel Hollins tells us how he plans to play against the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference finals.
Latest from ProBasketballTalk
Get your NBA cheer on
Check out some of the dancers from the NBA.