The old saying goes that if you’re an offensive lineman on a football team, you will never get the glory that the quarterback or the running backs receive. The star players are the ones who get all of the credit, or sometimes even the coaches get a large chunk of the credit, but very rarely does the General Manager get the recognition that they deserve.
Red Auerbach passed away 15 years ago in October of 2006. Auerbach was very likely one of the greatest NBA General Managers of all time. While he coaches a few different teams, he was most noted for his time with the Boston Celtics. In fact, he served as the president and front office executive of the Celtics until the day he passed away.
During his time as the General Manager in Boston, he won seven additional NBA titles to the 9 he had already won as a coach. While he was obviously a fantastic coach, he may have been an even better General Manager. One of Auerbach’s best decisions was selecting Larry Bird in the 1978 NBA draft.
The Celtics were not exactly great in the early 1970’s, and Auerbach turned things around with the drafting of Bird. He went on to add an amazing supporting cast for Bird by picking up Robert Parish, Danny Ainge and Bill Walton among others. All of these additions would lead to many more championships for Boston in the 1980’s.
While he certainly deserves a lot of credit because he is one of the greatest players of all time, Larry Bird unfortunately gets too much credit. Had it not been for Auerbach and his ability to put together a great team, there is no way that the Celtics organization would have nearly as many championships that it does.
Moving forward, professional sports teams as a whole need to be better about giving their General Manager’s more credit, as it’s not just the players that make it happen.