Sunday, January 12, 2014
Auerbach Gets Win 1,000
On Jan. 12, 1966, legendary Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach won the 1,000th game of this coaching career. This total counts playoff games. Auerbach is often credited with building the NBA dynasty in Boston. He won nine championships with the team. Which is the second most for a head coach all time only behind Phil Jackson who won 12 with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers.
Auerbach also emphasized the need for role players like Frank Ramsey and John Havlicek, who became one of the first legitimate sixth men in NBA history, a role later succeeded in by Don Nelson.
Auerbach's recipe proved devastating to the opposition.
From 1957 to 1966, the Celtics won nine of ten NBA championships.
This included eight consecutive championships—which is the longest championship streak in North American sports—and beat the Los Angeles Lakers of Hall-of-Famers Elgin Baylor and Jerry West six times in the NBA Finals. Perhaps most notably, this also included denying perennial scoring and rebounding champion Wilt Chamberlain a title during Auerbach's coaching reign.
Auerbach is remembered as a pioneer of modern basketball, redefining basketball as a game dominated by team play and defense and for introducing the fast break as a potent offensive weapon.
He groomed many players who went on to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Additionally, Auerbach was vital in breaking down color barriers in the NBA. He made history by drafting the first African-American NBA player, Chuck Cooper in 1950, and introduced the first African-American starting five in 1964.
Famous for his polarizing nature, he was well known for smoking a cigar when he thought a victory was assured, a habit that became, for many, "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 1981.
In addition, 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.