By Bill Russell with Alan Steinberg
This is Bill Russell's tribute and eulogy to Arnold "Red" Auerbach. They met in 1956 when Russell joined the Celtics and worked in a player-coach relationship through 1966, then as a player/coach-general manager relationship through 1969 and as close friends until Auerbach passed away in 2006.
Russell came from a hard background of poverty and prejudice starting in the deep south, carrying over to the bay area and then to Boston, a city rife with racial tension in the 1960s. He had a chip on his shoulder and a "take no crap" attitude. Aurbach grew up in New York City in a rough neighborhood and experienced a different form of racism (he's Jewish) and he, too, had a "take no crap" attitude. Both men were absolutely consumed not only with winning, but also respect.
Their relationship started as mutual respect and understanding and blossomed into loyalty and ultimately into an enduring friendship. I have read two other books by Russell and this was by far the most enjoyable. He seems like a hard man to know and a hard man to befriend, but this book sheds more light into his life and doesn't have the hard edge that his other books do.
On top of a story of two gruff and private men who shared a friendship, there are nuggets of wisdom throughout.
Red and Me: My Coach, My Lifelong Friend. Bill Russell with Alan Steinberg. HarperCollins. 2009.