Arnold "Red" Auerbach
Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1917, the son of a Russian Jewish immigrant, Arnold Jacob “Red” Auerbach grew up playing basketball. With his flaming red hair and fiery temper, Auerbach was soon nicknamed "Red."He played at PS 122 and in the Eastern District High School, and was named “Second Team All-Brooklyn” in his senior year. After high school, he attended George Washington University on an athletic scholarship. He excelled on the court, and graduated with a Master of Arts in 1941.
In 1941, Auerbach began coaching basketball at the St. Albans School and Roosevelt High School in Washington, D.C. In 1943, he began coaching the Navy basketball team in Norfolk, and caught the eye of Mike Uline, who hired him to coach the Washington Capitols in the newly founded Basketball Association of America (BAA), a predecessor of the NBA. In the 1946-47 BAA season, Auerbach led a fast break-oriented team built around early BAA star and fellow Washington Metropolitan Basketball Hall of Fame member, Bones McKinney and various ex-Navy players to a 49–11 win–loss record, including a standard-setting 17-game winning streak that stood as the single-season league record until 1969.
In 1950, Boston Celtics owner Walter Brown hired Auerbach as a coach. Auerbach immediately began making notable moves, including drafting Chuck Cooper in the 1950 NBA draft, the first black player to be drafted by an NBA club. As a result, Auerbach is widely credited with breaking down the color barrier in professional basketball. He served as the general manager of the Celtics from 1966-1984, and as president from 1984-1997, vice chairman from 1997-2001, and then as president again until his death in 2006. He was part of 16 NBA championships with the Celtics and was elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1969.