By Harvey Araton and Filip Bondy
Want to read how it sounds when 2 bitter anti-fans write a book of half-truths? Pick this up! I hate the Celtics. As a Dr. J fan, I am required to by law! I was drooling as I thought of all the dirt I would learn about Red the shyster and such. Instead, I came across a book that might as well have been written by Al Sharpton and Spike Lee. These 2 jokers are desperate to smear the Celtics organization in any way they can. They look for racism under every rock. They make good points, such as when as a rookie new to Boston, Dee Brown was house shopping in Wellesby and was held at gunpoint by the police and had to lie on the ground. The reason? A black man had robbed a bank and Brown was a black man. Then, they take it to stupid extremes and try to hype up K.C. Jones as a great coach who never got his due because of his skin color (I wonder why he was .500 at Seattle and George Karl came in midway in 1992 and turned the team into the 3rd hottest team in the league?). He tries to say that during the 80s Pat Riley was considered a "genius" (funny, I remember people saying "Riley gives the ball to Magic and says, 'run my team.'" Riley didn't get his rep until he went to New York) and that no black coaches are considered great ... silly me. I thought Lenny Wilkins was a black man. Guess not! They try to say that the Celtics have 2 different pay scales for white and black players, yet they ignore the fact that Bill Russell made nearly 2 times the money that Bob Cousy did. They also ignore the contract extension that Reggie Lewis signed.
These guys find embittered ex-Celtics, such as Cedric Maxwell, Bob McAdoo, Jo Jo White, and Gerald Henderson and treat their words as gospel law. Had they got the testimony of perhaps Bill Russell, K.C. Jones, Robert Parish, and Satch Sanders, I may just believe them.
However, they do make some good points, such as no black ex-Celtics stay in Boston except M.L. Carr, who was given a token job (this book was written before Carr took over the franchise and nearly ruined it). Another point is that the Celtics are not popular with the young black children in the ghettos, like Roxbury and Dorchester. They also have excellent quotes from people like Charles Grantham, the NBAPA president, about how the commissioner and the league in general plays favorites with Boston--and pointed out how David Stern informed Boston, and not any other team, including LA, about the tax loophole that caused the Celtics to become a limited partnership. (However, that idea of Celtic-bias by commissioner Stern has been proven wrong, as he now plays favorites with the Bulls. Stern is simply jocking the cash cow). They also have quotes from people who were once in the Celtic front office, pointing out how any bad move is blamed on the ownership and all good moves are attributed to Red Auerbach. They show that Auerbach isn't the genius the popular press makes him out to be. This point actually has credence, as they point out his abysmal drafting record through the 70s and 80s (and according to one of the former scouts, Red had to be convinced to take Larry Bird, because he didn't want to). They also show how Auerbach controls the Boston sportswriters, and feeds them the "news" that he wants them to write, and in return, they get the "scoops" and also the rights to write player biographies. (If you look at my list of Celtic books, you will see the same names popping up: Peter May, Bob Ryan, Dan Shaughnessy). They make a case of racial slanting in their newspaper writing and how Auerbach uses them to perform character assassinations on players that fall out of his good graces.
If you read this book, be SURE that you are familiar with the stories. That is how I saw through a lot of the BS presented here. These guys make some good points, but their venom and slanted views make things appear to be worse than they are. If you read a Peter May book, the Celtics are angelic and Auerbach is God. These guys say that the Celtics are evil and Auerbach is Satan. The truth lies somewhere in the middle.
The selling of the green: the financial rise and moral decline of the Boston Celtics. Harvey Araton & Filip Bondy. HarperCollins Publishers. 1992.