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Arnold "Red" Auerbach

Seeing Red After All These Years

I watch him gingerly move behind his desk, finally dropping into a chair. Red has trouble walking—hip problems, foot problems, back problems, just problems. Elevators and escalators are two of his favorite things; he lives his life accordingly. He avoids Washington's MCI Center, mainly because the nitwits running that place don't make it easy for him to get around….

"I can't fight the stairs anymore," he says. "I don't like to walk stairs. Things change. I used to smoke 10 of these" … he holds up a Cuban cigar…"every day. Now I'm down to two. You don't get to be 84 years old and not have problems. But I don't want to talk about my problems." …

Before his bypass surgery in '93, Red plowed through cigars like they were Life Savers. Read anything about him, and that's the first thing anyone mentions—the suffocating cigar smoke. Hell, he invented the concept of the victory cigar. There's a famous story about Red lighting one up at Legal Seafoods (restaurant) in Boston during the mid-'80s, when a female customer reproached him, "You can't smoke in here! It says so on the menu!" Red told her to look at the menu again. The menu actually said, "No cigar smoking in here …except for Red Auerbach." Another "W" for Red….

Source: ESPN.com, March 22, 2002.

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Famous Sports StarsBasketballArnold "Red" Auerbach Biography - Born In Brooklyn, Boston Era Begins, Celtics Mystique, Russell First Black Coach, Abrasive Personality