ON AND OFF THE COURT by Red with Joe Fitzgerald Auerbach


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A trashy, subliterate addendum to Auerbach's autobiography. . .and an unlovely leaf from the book of television networks that broadcast junk sports programs. During the author's 35-year tenure as coach, general manager, and president of the Boston Celtics basketball team, his club has had more than a dozen championship seasons. This record, unrivaled in professional sports, has been exhaustively chronicled by, among others, Auerbach. Here, however, he offers random, inch-deep commentary on subjects ranging from avaricious agents through draft picks, drugs, and interferring owners. There are few surprises, let alone insights, in the give-and-go monologue. It will not come as news to even casual fans, for instance, that Auerbach considered John Y. Brown (Kentucky Fried Chicken mogul) an meddlesome foul-up during his brief stint as proprietor of the franchise. Or that he views most player reps as self-serving schemers. Auerbach takes an equally hard--and predictable--line on narcotics, recommending lifetime suspensions (with the possibility of reinstatement after two years) for users exposed by spot checks. Of somewhat greater interest are his thoughts on the deceptive nature of basketball statistics and an appreciation of Bill Russell's court talents vis-…-vis those of Larry Bird. Far less successful is a self-conscious chapter on brotherhood which reaches the conclusion that: ""Racism, by definition, is illogical."" Unfortunately, Auerbach dribbles quickly past the personal pressures that must have been involved in being the Jewish coach of a predominantly black team in a city convulsed by controversy over busing and related racial issues. Auerbach's musings are here presented in a grating style that combines vernacular with Valley Girl (recalling a meeting with Harry Truman, he confides, ""This was the President of the United States, talking plain talk like that to someone he had just met. I was totally impressed""). The box score: more air balls than baskets.

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 1985
Publisher: Macmillan