Celtics’ Paul Pierce shares story about his unique relationship with Red Auerbach
Pierce revealed some of the interactions he had with the legendary Celtics coach and GM during an NBC Sports Boston show called Passing the Torch with current Celtics guard Kemba Walker. He recalled the instance he got to talk with the cigar-loving Auerbach, via NESN’s Gabby Guerard:
“I remember the first time meeting him, he came into the locker room and he had a cigar, it wasn’t lit at the time when I met him. He was like ‘Pierce, come here’ and I was like ‘Me?’ I didn’t even know he knew who I was, so I’m like ‘Man, what’s going on now? Did I do something?’” he laughed. “And he came and told me, ‘Yeah, I watched you at Kansas and you know, you need to work on this and work on that,’ so he always told me what I needed to do better, and I respected that out of him…”
“Then I’m a full-blown Celtic, second or third year, and he came in there and now I walk into the arena, I smell the cigar. You smell the cigar now, every time he comes, it’s going to be lit. I go into the locker room, I start tying my shoes, I’m like, ‘Oh Red must be here,’ it’s in the air, nobody else is going to smoke in the arena,” Pierce recalled. “And so he’d come and after every game he gave me a cigar and I’d put it in my locker. So now I’m like, I’ve got all these cigars in my locker and I say, ‘You know, I’m not going to light this until I win a championship.’”
He eventually got to light one of those cigars after the Celtics won the championship over the Los Angeles Lakers in 2008, two years after Auerbach died in 2006.
It’s a nice moment for Celtics fans to know that two of their biggest icons had moments like that behind the scenes.