I have read a lot of tributes to Red in the past couple of days, but Bill Simmons has what I feel is the best of the bunch. His memories of Red very poignant and his account of finding the pre-written obituaries in the Herald computer explains Peter May's extensive obituary that was released shortly after the news broke. The stories he relays to us give us a good glimpse of Red through the years from a fan's point of view. But his closing sums it all up better than anything else that I have read.
In fact, Red is doing well enough that the team asks for his blessing to have cheerleaders. Every other team has cheerleaders but Boston. And why? Because Red always maintained that the Celtics would have cheerleaders over his dead body. Those were the exact words. Over my dead body.
Unfortunately for Red, it's a different league now. You don't need one assistant coach anymore; you need five. You don't need one scout anymore; you need 10. You don't need a scoreboard anymore; you need a Jumbotron with an HDTV picture; you need a good stereo system that plays hip-hop songs during timeouts; and you definitely need cheerleaders. They call it "in-game entertainment." Red never understood this; he always thought the game should be the entertainment. Eventually, he accepted the fact that the world was changing around him, that he couldn't stop it anymore. Sure, the Celtics could have cheerleaders. He wouldn't like it. But they could have them.
The cheerleaders were scheduled to debut at Wednesday night's home opener against New Orleans. Not anymore. Red Auerbach stole their thunder by passing away. I will always believe that this wasn't a coincidence. It's just too crazy. The old man waited until the last possible moment ... and then he called it quits. He lived and died without ever seeing a Celtics cheerleader. What a way to go out.
Instead of breaking out their dance squad, the Celtics will mourn the soul of their franchise on Wednesday night. Red's seat in Section 12 will remain empty. Old players will show up. Bagpipes will be played. A tribute video will run on the brand-new Jumbotron that Red would have hated. People will cheer, people will clap, people will cry. It's going to be an emotional night. For one final game, 21 years after our last championship, the Boston Celtics will seem more special than every other NBA team.
After that? Bring on the cheerleaders. We're going to need them.
You have to picture Red looking down and smiling. As with everything else, Red did it his way. Bill's article is well worth the time to read it. [More] source: ESPN Page 2