Red Auerbach, one of the greatest coaches in sports history, died on October 28, 2006. Bill Russell, the five-time MVP and star center on the Auerbach teams that won eleven championships in 13 years, said little in public at the time. His relationship with his coach had been so deeply personal that he could not express it with a brief comment.
In fact, little known to the public, Auerbach and Russell - one a short, brash Jew from Brooklyn, the other a tall, intense African-American from Louisiana and Oakland - were far more than just coach and player. Through 13 years of building a sports dynasty together, one that remains among the greatest of all time, their relationship evolved into a rare, telling example of deep male friendship: confident, supportive, understanding, founded in common goals, even as their feelings remained largely unspoken. They stayed close for the rest of Auerbach's life, despite physical distance and far fewer chances to be together. True male friends are always there for each other, whenever the need or occasion arises.
Red and Me is an extraordinary book: an homage to a peerless coach, showing how he produced results unlike any other; an inspiring story of mutual success, in which each man gave his all, and gained back even more; above all, it may be the best depiction of male friendship ever put on the page. Who would have guessed that such different men could have become such a tightly bonded pair? Few did guess it. Now Russell tells it.
©2009 Bill Russell (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers