Death of a Legend

Yes, we probably use that term too often, especially in sports. But if it ever applied, it surely does to Red Auerbach. His career accomplishments are so monumental that they almost defy being listed. 8 straight NBA championships as a coach and 9 in 10 years. As general manager, he built another 7 championship teams. He coached Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Tommy Heinsohn, Sam Jones, KC Jones, and many more. He drafted John Havlicek, Jo Jo White, Dave Cowens and, of course, Larry Bird. Bird he drafted after his junior year, knowing that he would not be able to play for another year. That worked out pretty well. This guy deserves his own wing in the basketball hall of fame. They simply don't get any better.

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Is anything more iconic in sports than Red Auerbach smoking a victory cigar?

Also, remember that he was the one of (if not) the first general manager(s) in the NBA to hire a black head coach. He hired Bill Russell as a player-coach for the Celtics. Russell (as well as Auerbach) were pretty widely harassed for this progressive move at the time.