Hall-of-Famer coach Red Auerbach is known as one of the coaches that redefined the game, being the driver of the Celtics' early dynasty. While winning a lot makes you the hero of your city, it has the opposite effect everywhere else.
In enemy territory, it was always certain that the opposing fans had their eyes on Celtics coach Red Auerbach. After winning consecutive championships with Boston, teams had a sense of despise towards them as they kept winning. Auerbach embraced the boos on the road and made the fans' experience a living hell every time the Celtics won.
Throughout his career, Auerbach had an impressive winning record of 823-426. Winning nine NBA Championships as the coach was a legacy like no other for him.
After his coaching tenure, Red also delivered for the team as an executive. Bringing the team seven more championships to bring his record to a whopping 16 championships as a part of the Celtics. Truly an amazing career for the late Auerbach.
Being accustomed to the boos he constantly received on the road, Auerbach was surprised when he received warm welcomes as he appeared on That Regis Philbin show.
Red was always the center of attention at these road games, from fines to ejections after collisions with the officials and his constant antics. The boos he received from these games came not only because of how much of a dynasty Boston has been but also because of one of the trademark antics of Auerbach.
Auerbach started the "victory cigar celebration," in which he would sit back, kick his feet up, and light up a cigar when he had a feeling that the Celtics were already winning the game.
The coach obviously just rolled with the boos as long as his team was winning the game.
"What are you going to do? — A boo is a boo. Generally, you don't take the time to figure out what kind of a boo it is, whether it's a good-natured boo, for instance. It's a boo and the hell with it." Auerbach explained in an interview in 1965.
Auerbach shared the story of how he started his celebratory cigar, stating that it was a way to "aggravate" the higher officials of the league. He started receiving notes stating how the cigar thing didn't look too good for him. Unfortunately for them, Auerbach began to like it, and apparently, so did Blackstone.
Blackstone approached Auerbach and wanted him to endorse their cigars.
"The cigar is a sign of relaxation. The cigarette is a sign of tension. I explained to them that it was an endorsement, that I get money and all the cigars I can smoke. That calmed them down. Why stop a guy from making a buck? However, the fans think this is a major thing." Auerbach stated.
Despite the fact this enraged the fans even more, Auerbach didn't care as he started making money off his simple celebratory routine. Fines came along, but unfortunately for the league, Blackstone paid him an amount larger than what the league was fining him. A true masterclass chess move.