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When Bill Russell joined the Boston Celtics in 1957 as the nation′s first prominent black basketball star, he was not expecting much from coach Red Auerbach. Despite two national college championships and an Olympic gold medal, Russell′s previous coaches-all whites-had barely spoken to him. Russell′s style was unorthodox, redefining the meaning of defense and offense, and many scouts dismissed him.
Yet Auerbach, the Jewish outsider in Irish Boston, immediately took to Russell, the African American from Louisiana and Oakland, and he was a coach like no other. Auerbach listened to his players, experimented freely, and knit together a team based only on results. Together they made sports history, winning 11 championships in 13 years. Along the way, Auerbach elevated Russell to player-coach, the first African-American coach in league history. Together, they battled prejudice both on and off the court, and created a team chemistry for the ages.
Even this glory is surpassed by another, little known aspect of their relationship: they became lifelong friends. As Russell explains, they were prepared for each other by their fathers, both strong men who loved their sons unconditionally. They both intuitively understood the dynamics of male friendship: there are many things left unsaid, but there is always understanding and respect. Over the many years since Russell retired from the Celtics and moved to the west coast, they saw each other rarely but spoke on the phone regularly. They were always there for each other. As Auerbach fell ill and declined, Russell was there, knowing how to reach out while respecting his former coach′s privacy. When Auerbach passed away in October, 2006, Russell refused to speak publicly about a relationship that was so deeply personal. Here, he offers a tribute greater than any speech.
This is a book not just for sports lovers, not just for fathers and sons, but for male friendships of all shapes and sizes.
This is a fantastic book. Russell and Auerbach shared a powerful friendship and partnership--and these pages do their best to capture this unique chemistry and dynamic. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Indra
so real and authentic, gave me new insight into bill russell, the man,Published 6 months ago by John Hersey
Bill Russell is one of the wisest people on Earth in addition to the best basketball player ever.Published 6 months ago by Patrick Delaney
Bill Russell and Red what a combo. Good look inside the old days at the Boston Celtics.Published 6 months ago by the word33
This book is a treasure and to think it has been around for years unread is like walking on unseen diamonds and being poor at the same time. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Wayne G. Hankins
This book describes what a true friendship is all about. Red and Bill came from different tribes but in the end were one of a kind. Read morePublished 9 months ago by evan W
It certainly could be argued that Bill Russell and and Red Auerbach were the longest-running success story in professional sports history. Read morePublished 11 months ago by WDX2BB