Red Auerbach (Arnold Jacob Auerbach), the coach of the Boston Celtics who drafted the first black player in the National Basketball Association, Chuck Cooper, in 1950, and then fielded the first all-black starting line-up in 1964, was born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on this date in 1917. Auerbach was a stand-out college basketball player who developed a special appreciation for the fast break as an offensive tool. With the Celtics he built a dominating team, anchored by center Bill Russell, that relied heavily on teamwork and won nine out of ten NBA championships between 1957 and 1966. When Auerbach retired as the team’s coach to become general manager in 1966, he appointed Russell as his replacement — the very first African-American coach of any professional sports organization in America. Auerbach died in 2006 at 89.
“The best way to forget one’s self is to look at the world with attention and love.” —Red Auerbach