The Boston Celtics Retired Red Auerbach’s #2 Jersey 37 Years Ago Today

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Elise Amendola

The Boston Celtics Retired Red Auerbach’s #2 Jersey 37 Years Ago Today


Red Auerbach is considered one of the most important figures in the history of the Boston Celtics. He was the head coach of the Celtics from 1950 to 1966, leading the team to nine NBA championships in that time. He then served as the team’s general manager and president, overseeing an additional seven championships in the 1970s and 1980s.

Auerbach’s impact on the Celtics was not limited to his on-court successes. He was also a pioneer in the NBA, introducing many strategies and tactics that are now taken for granted in modern basketball. For example, Auerbach was one of the first coaches to use the fast break as a primary offensive strategy, and he was also one of the first to use the sixth man role, bringing players off the bench to provide a spark to the team.

Auerbach was also known for his ability to scout and acquire talented players, both through the draft and via trades. He was instrumental in building the Celtics’ dynasty of the 1950s and 1960s, which featured Hall of Famers such as Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, and John Havlicek.

Auerbach retired from coaching in 1966, but he remained with the Celtics as the team’s general manager. Under his leadership, the Celtics won an additional seven championships, including three in the 1980s with a team that featured Larry Bird.

In addition to his on-court contributions, Auerbach was also a pioneer in the business of basketball. He was one of the first NBA executives to understand the value of television and helped to negotiate the first national television contract for the league. He was also a strong advocate for the players and worked to improve their salaries and working conditions.

Red Auerbach’s impact on the Boston Celtics and the NBA cannot be overstated. His leadership, coaching ability, and business acumen helped to establish the Celtics as one of the most successful and respected franchises in sports history. He will always be remembered as an integral part of the team’s rich history and tradition.

37 years ago today, on January 4, 1985, the Boston Celtics retired the #2 jersey of Red Auerbach in a ceremony at the Boston Garden.



While many believe that the number 2 represents the two main aspects of the game: offense and defense – Auerbach was known for his emphasis on team defense, it actually is because the number followed Celtics founder Walter Brown’s symbolic No. 1, as Auerbach was second only to Brown as the most important person in team history.

Red Auerbach’s jersey retirement was a fitting tribute to a man who had made an indelible mark on the game of basketball. His legacy lives on today in the many coaches and players who have been influenced by his innovative approach to the game.

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