RED AUERBACH QUOTES

American basketball coach (1917-2006)

It's not what you tell your players that counts. It's what they hear.

RED AUERBACH, Leadership Wired, Mar. 12, 2004

6 likes


I can't stand these guys who go into a game and can't wait to shake hands when the game is over, you know, nice game, all that.... For me, back in those days, when we lost, we got out of there. We're not congratulating them, we're figuring out, if we play them again, what are we gonna do to beat the hell out of them.

RED AUERBACH, Basketball Man

6 likes


Basketball is like war in that offensive weapons are developed first, and it always takes a while for the defense to catch up.

RED AUERBACH, attributed, It's How You Play the Game

5 likes

Tags: basketball


I don't believe in statistics. There are too many factors that can't be measured. You can't measure a ballplayer's heart.

RED AUERBACH, Harvard Business Review, Mar. 1987

3 likes


Did I ever tell you about Chamberlain? Chamberlain was the most unbelievable physical specimen ever. There wasn't anything he couldn't do on the basketball court. One year he scored fifty points a game. Another year he led the league in assists. He was so strong it was frightening. But there was one thing he couldn't do. He couldn't beat us.

RED AUERBACH, Let Me Tell You a Story: A Lifetime in the Game

3 likes


I've turned down a lot of trades where I might have gotten a better player, but I wasn't totally sure of the chemistry of that new player coming in. Even though he might possess golden ability, his personality and the way he gets along with teammates might be things you just don't want to cope with.

RED AUERBACH, Harvard Business Review, Mar. 1987

2 likes


If you're keeping score, win.

RED AUERBACH, Esquire, Dec. 2000

1 likes

Tags: winning


You can't win without the ball.

RED AUERBACH, ESPN, Jun. 2005

1 likes


What affects the game today is money. And the agents tell their players "It's all right to be a great defensive player and so forth and so on, but you better put some points up there so I can sell you to some teams." And you say "Well, he averages twelve points a game, only plays fifteen minutes, he's one hell of a player." But if I go to him and say, "I got a guy out here, he's a good defensive player, and he averages two points a game," you can't sell him. See. It's money.

RED AUERBACH, Basketball Man

1 likes

Tags: money


Any coach needs talent. You start with talent. Without talent, we're all in the soup.

RED AUERBACH, ESPN, Jun. 2005

0 likes

Tags: talent


You see, in sports you have so many things that aren't expected. There's so much uncertainty. So when players find themselves in a situation where management has a great deal of integrity and they can depend on my word or anybody else's word in the organization, they feel secure. And if the players feel secure, they don't want to leave here. And if they don't want to leave here, they're going to do everything they can on the court to stay here.

RED AUERBACH, Harvard Business Review, Mar. 1987

0 likes


Stand up for your players. Show them you care on and off the court.

RED AUERBACH, attributed, Winning Words

0 likes


If they think we got an edge, we got an edge.

RED AUERBACH, Esquire, Dec. 2000

0 likes


All records are made to be broken.

RED AUERBACH, ESPN, Jun. 2005

0 likes


We like our players to play for fun and to be happy rather than afraid. It's like that in any business. If you have employees who work through fear, you're not going to get any ingenuity out of them. You're not going to get any employees who will take a gamble or come up with ideas. All you'll have are robots that are going to do their jobs, have a low-key approach, stay out of trouble. They'll put in their hours and go home. But I'd rather have it the other way.

RED AUERBACH, Harvard Business Review, Mar. 1987

0 likes


I never had a set of rules. Every situation is different.

RED AUERBACH, Esquire, Dec. 2000

0 likes

Tags: rules


If I'm going to coach the players, I want some say on who they're going to be.

RED AUERBACH, ESPN, Jun. 2005

0 likes


You got to be lucky. Like, for example, one time in the seventh game of a playoff, somebody took a shot -- I think it was Nelson or Ramsey or Sam -- and it hit the backboard, hit the rim, rolled around, went in, and made me a hell of a coach. You know what I mean?

RED AUERBACH, Esquire, Dec. 2000

0 likes

Tags: luck


They said you have to use your five best players but I found you win with the five who fit together the best.

RED AUERBACH, attributed, Winning Words

0 likes


Everything can happen in the playoffs.

RED AUERBACH, ESPN, Jun. 2005

0 likes