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The Selling of the Green: The Financial Rise and Moral Decline of the Boston Celtics Hardcover – January, 1992


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 271 pages
  • Publisher: Harpercollins; 1st edition (January 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060183012
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060183011
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,994,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Although Boston is 25% black, it has a reputation as a racist city; also relevant to the premise of the book is the fact that the basketball Celtics, one of professional sports' most successful franchises, have few fans among the city's minority population. The Celtics management has tried for four decades to create the image that it is color-blind: the team signed the first black player, hired the first black coach and the Celtics were the first to play an all-black starting lineup. But the image is not the reality, according to New York Times sports columnists Araton and Bondy in this hard-hitting expose. The Celtics, originally led to greatness by black center Bill Russell, prefer to make a public hero of white forward John Havlicek; for years the management has tried to assemble a roster of six blacks and six whites, although some of the whites are talented enough only to sit on the bench. The authors maintain that racism is endemic in the NBA and that it is especially blatant in Boston. They also argue convincingly that the Boston press has played a shameful role in cloaking that the Celtics team is "still for whites." Photos not seen by PW. Author tour.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Two New York Times columnists take the NBA's Boston Celtics front office to task for what they charge is a race-based marketing strategy that permeates nearly all management functions, from player development to community relations. Based largely on interviews with former players, they claim the practice has been long-standing and has resulted in preferential treatment for white players, particularly in regard to salary negotiations and roster moves. Much of the criticism is directed at Red Auerbach, the architect of the Celtic dynasty, as well as NBA officials and the local Boston media, who are seen as catering to the franchise. This work is likely to beget controversy and offers a far different perspective of the team from that depicted in Dan Shaughnessy's Ever Green ( LJ 9/15/90) or Bob Ryan's The Boston Celtics ( LJ 11/15/89). For popular collections.
- William H. Hoffman, Ft. Myers-Lee Cty. P.L., Fla.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jack Ace Rothstein on June 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The authors should be ashamed of themselves for playing the race-card against a franchise with the stellar record of minority hires like the Celtics. Five head coaches (including the current one) have been Af.Am., the Celtics were the first to draft a black player, and the first to put on the court an all-black starting five. Yet these "authors" claim the Celtics are racist because the Celtics of the 1980s had an equal number of white and black players when the league was 75% black. It didn't occur to these authors that maybe the Celtics picked up bargain basement talent that was undervalued by the rest of the league becuase the talent was white. Saying that these players were tokens and couldn't play because they were white is like saying that someone who is Af. Am. can't coach because of his race (which they also implied when they denegrated K.C. Jones' coaching). Well the Celtics definitely disproved both of these ideas in 1986 with a 67-15 record (including 40-1 at home) and an NBA title with a black head coach and 8 white players out of 12.

Among the authors' "sources" is Spike Lee, who at the very least is a partisan Knicks fan and at worst a historical revisionist. His only argument is that "the players all look white in a black man's game, so the team must be racist". However, the Knicks have a much worse record of minority hires. And as for the Lakers who struggled to get two white players on the Showtime teams, the only Af. Am. head coach in my recollection was Magic Johnson. Look at the other teams in the league and you would be hard-pressed to find teams who have the record of hiring non-white coaches like the Celtics. And they have the nerve to call the Celtics racist? This piece of anti-Celtics propaganda is not worth the paper on which it's printed.

Then again, I expect no less from New York writers who still long for their own all-white teams - the Knicks from the 1970s.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By William J. Deangelis on January 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Harvey Araton is a fine journalist with an eye for detail and context. His journalistc observations are often penetrating and well worth consideration. I've read parts of DRIVING MISTER YOGI in pre-publication excerpts (it's not out yet) and WHEN THE GARDEN WAS EDEN from cover to cover. Both are terrific reads. The latter is one of the best sports books I've ever read. So, Araton's participation in the writing of THE SELLING OF THE GREEN with Filip Bondy (whose other work I don't know) marks a departure from his usual good sense. Perhaps the result of a youthful lack of impulse control. Then again, this might be a diatribe fueled by an understandable animus for Red Auerbach, the brilliant but flawed human being who has been rightly lauded for his remarkable accomplishments, but remembered also for his, belligerence, his self-satisfied braggadocio and a crude tendency to (almost literally) blow smoke into the faces of vanquished opponents. I can relate to such feelings although I don't share them. Still, this book, simply put, comes close to slander and bull-headedly dismisses considerations that should convince any sensible person that it's main claims are manifestly false.

Certainly Boston is a city whose history is besmirched by ugly racism - especially during, but not restricted to, the 1970's. It has suffered a deservedly negative reputation for this. The reasons for this are various and have been much studied and commented upon by persons who know a lot more about it than the authors of this book.

In brief, Araton and Bundy somehow manage to conflate the racial attitudes of Boston during the '70's with those of the Boston Celtics organization of the 1980's.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Richard Assad on August 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Boston Celtics are a legendary team. Harvey Araton knows hoops and is fair in his commentary. Worth the buy.
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11 of 20 people found the following review helpful By kevin J gilligan on June 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
To put it kindly, authors Araton and Bondy need to do a little soul-searching and examine their own motives for creating this smear-campaign of a book. I find it hard to believe that two otherwise respected sports journalists would allow to have their names attached to this.
The basic premise of the book holds forth that the Celtics organization is a racist organization that caters to a racist Boston fan base and is abetted by a racist local press. Well, let's not apply too broad a brush here! The book then goes on to recount every personnel and organizational decision the Celtics have ever made, always in unflattering racial terms.
Well, let's see... how do I say this? OK, here goes. Fellas, aren't you just a little bit bitter that the Celtics have had such huge success over the years, often in embarrassing fashion over your own favorite teams (Syracuse Nats, New York Knicks, Phil. 76's)? Doesn't it bug you that your hated rival has again and again built champion-caliber squads with players that weere allowed to slip through the cracks by less astute competitors? Don't you feel just a little bit foolish about having written this juvenile ill-informed diatribe and not gotten the least amount of attention? Sure you do. And in the process, you flushed any journalistic integrity you might have had down the drain. Congratulations, authors Araton and Bondy.
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