Among the firsts for Arnold “Red” Auerbach:
- He drafted the first black player in NBA history (Chuck Cooper in 1950)
- He appointed the first black coach (Bill Russell)
- He started the first all black team (Bill Russell, KC Jones, Sam Jones, Satch Sanders and Willie Naulls)
- He came up with the “Sixth Man” Concept
- He won 11 NBA Championships in 13 years, a record that will stand forever.
Listen and watch as Red tells his dramatic story in his own words at the Park Theatre.
The Auerbach Dynasty
When Red Auerbach snubbed Bob Cousy, the Holy Cross star, in his first draft as coach of the Boston Celtics in 1950, a cry of betrayal swept across the city. Not take the Cooz? Had Auerbach lost his mind?
Red’s second choice was even more controversial. He selected Chuck Cooper, a 6’5” guard from Duquesne. When Red told Walter Brown about his choice, he pointed out that Cooper was Black.
“I don’t care about the color of a ballplayer’s skin,” Brown answered. “He can be black, yellow, white or green if you want, as long as he can put the ball in the basket. That’s the kid I want,” Walter said.
When Brown stood during the 1950 draft and announced that the Celtics were drafting Cooper, one of the other owners looked at him in amazement and warned, “Do you realize Cooper is a Negro?”
“I don’t care if he’s plaid” Brown answered. “He can play basketball.”
Ticket Price: $ 35, Special 15% discount for Seniors and Students
There are several ways to buy tickets: Visit our Box Office, Order via phone, or Click the link below to purchase now, online:
Park Theatre Box Office
848 Park Avenue, Cranston RI 02910
Monday - Saturday: 10am to 6pm