First, let’s get the basketball credentials out of the way. Russell was the greatest team basketball player ever; his Boston Celtics won championships in 11 of his 13 years. Arnold Jacob “Red” Auerbach was the Celtics coach for the first 10 years of Russell’s career and later, as the general manager, assembled five more championship teams after Russell retired. Russell retraces the path of their lifelong friendship as it evolved from player-coach to professional equals to good friends. The relationship was always grounded in respect. Auerbach never tried to alter Russell’s then-revolutionary basketball style, nor did he ever interfere with or critique Russell’s involvement in the civil-rights movement. Auerbach’s Jewish heritage exposed him to some of the same prejudices Russell experienced in segregated Boston, though they never compared notes. Auerbach cultivated a public persona associated with words like gruff or curmudgeon that are partially accurate but woefully incomplete. He was extraordinarily intelligent, fearless, and sensitive to what would bring out the best in those around him. Russell understands these characteristics and has produced a moving tribute to his friend and, in a larger sense, to friendship. --Wes Lukowsky
From the Back Cover
Red Auerbach was one of the greatest basketball coaches in sports history. Bill Russell was the star center and five-time MVP for Auerbach's Celtics, and together they won eleven championships in thirteen years. But Auerbach and Russell were far more than just coach and player. A short, brash Jew from Brooklyn and a tall, intense African-American from Louisiana and Oakland, the men formed a friendship that evolved into a rare, telling example of deep male camaraderie even as their feelings remained largely unspoken.
Red and Me is an extraordinary book: an homage to a peerless coach, which shows how he produced results unlike any other, and an inspiring story of mutual success, in which each man gave his all and gained back even more. Above all, it may be the most honest and heartfelt depiction of male friendship ever captured in print.
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