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Stogie News: NBA Legend, Cigar Enthusiast Passes

30 Oct 2006

On Saturday, legendary Hall of Fame basketball coach Red Auerbach passed away at 89. Auerbach coached the Boston Celtics to nine NBA Championships before leading them to another seven as an executive with the team:

Arnold “Red” Auerbach, 89, in failing health the last few years, died of a heart attack Saturday in Washington, D.C., which he made his home.

Auerbach was part of the NBA from its inception in 1946. He coached 11 Hall of Famers and set the standard for coaches and personnel directors with his keen eye for talent. He won a record-tying nine titles as coach, including eight in a row from 1958-59 through 1965-66.

“He was always intensely focused on the game, the game, the game and the respect people have to have for the game,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said.

Much to the chagrin of his opponents, Auerbach would always light a “victory cigar” after Celtics wins, sometimes even before the game ended when a Celtics victory was assured. Indeed, he has been described as the inventor of the victory cigar.

Whether or not that’s true, he certainly was the best known proponent of the celebration and a man who would have no use for the smoking bans of today. According to basketball commentator Dick Vitale, Auerbach was once asked what would happen if he tried to light up his trademark smoke in an NBA arena today. Auerbach responded, “Who would try and stop me?”

Describing Auerbach’s tastes in cigars, fellow Celtics coach and cigar smoker Rick Pitino said that Auerbach never had much use for expensive cigars: “He would always smoke the cheapest, foulest-smelling cigars you could buy. I swear, he’d never spend more than three bucks for one.”

For more on Auerbach’s accomplishments, see this timeline of his remarkable life. Also, you can read what fellow Celtics and other NBA legends had to say about his passing in this article.

Patrick S


3 Responses to “Stogie News: NBA Legend, Cigar Enthusiast Passes”

  1. Anonymous Monday, October 30, 2006 at 7:29 am #

    another cigar smoker who lived a long healthy life… makes you wonder why some people are so concearned about cigar smoking's health effects

  2. James Day Tuesday, October 31, 2006 at 5:34 am #

    The first picture is awesome! That was a coach with class. You win a game, you lit up a cigar, kinda like a general. Now coaches just get a gatorade bath everytime they win.

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