The Story of Legendary Friends

Book on Celtics Icons a Primer for Relationships, Life


Bill Russell and Red Auerbach are two of the most important people in American sports history. As legendary figures in the Boston Celtics professional basketball franchise, Russell won 11 championships as a coach and player. Auerbach, as a coach and executive, won 16. Few men have ever excelled in their sport as much as these two.

For most of my life, I’ve been a student of the game of basketball. That means I hawk game scores (previously in the newspaper and now on the Internet), I spew statistics, I live and breathe roster management moves, and I watch as many games as I can. I’ve spent years studying the game at all levels, particularly pro and college, and I consider myself a pretty knowledgable fan.

The true value and depth in any sports icon’s story, however, is knowing about that person as a human being. Where, when and how were they raised? What makes them tick? What happened in their life outside the public eye?

As a reader, I thirst for biographies and autobiographies. They allow me to learn the answers to the questions in the previous paragraph, and they make history and the present so much more colorful and relatable.

y648Recently at a massive book sale in Greenville, S.C., I came across a copy of “Red and Me,” Bill Russell’s tale of his relationship with coach and friend Red Auerbach. I knew I would buy it immediately after I uncovered it in a stack, and I’m proud to say it only cost me one dollar.

It may absolutely be the best single dollar I’ve spent in my life. In addition to chronicling the on-court experiences of Russell and Auerbach, it offers an in-depth yet simply told story of the people those two men have been.

The book offers insight on Auerbach’s role as a coach/boss, Russell’s role as a player/employee, both of their roles as ethical men, and their collective friendship. For those stories, it’s a book that relates to everyone, especially men, even readers who don’t care at all about the sport of basketball.

bill_russell_nba_champion“Red and Me” serves as a gem of a coaching tool for a man’s life. It shows why a belief system and the resulting actions should be based on ethics and morals. It advises ways to kindly treat your fellow man, regardless of diverse background and orientation. And it gets to the heart of what matters in life: how we interact with the most meaningful people in our lives.

Bill Russell and Red Auerbach came from completely different backgrounds, but they realized they had more in common than one would think and they accented all of the best qualities in each other to create a beautiful lifelong friendship together. Through the book told in Russell’s voice, their story serves as inspiration for how to live life both individually and alongside others. Neither man was perfect, but they made each other better. Shouldn’t that be the goal for all of us?


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