PRIDE OF THE CELTICS
Kudos to Frank Deford for digging deeply beneath Red Auerbach's "gruff exterior" to give SI readers such a rich appreciation of this extraordinary man (A Man for All Seasons, Feb. 15). Red and his "Guys" have provided a lifetime of thrills for me. More to the point, he continues to be a superb role model for professionals in all walks of life. Here is an intelligent, industrious, inspirational man who drives his charges hard yet takes tremendous pride in their accomplishments and is genuinely concerned about their overall well-being. Celtic pride—Red's enduring legacy—will always be a standard worthy of emulation. Although I have ceased to be an active follower of professional basketball, I think of Auerbach often and always with a smile on my face. After reading Deford's eloquent article, I was tempted to light up two after-dinner cigars—one for Red and one for Frank!
New York City
It was a pleasure to read about a sports organization in the 20th century that operates like a Ma and Pa store and turns a substantial profit. Red Auerbach's blue-collar kind of entrepreneurship is a breath of fresh air.
Being a non-Bostonian, yet an ardent Celtic fan since 1959, I realized early that the Cousys, Joneses, Russells, Havliceks, Cowenses and others have greatly contributed to this rich tradition, but did not create it. The key to the success story in Beantown is twofold: a parquet floor and Auerbach.
That was a fantastic article on Red Auerbach and a very interesting idea to have him run the Patriots and Red Sox. Those teams, with their ownership, would be the ultimate challenge to any man.
KEVIN P. WARNER
Buzzards Bay, Mass.
You named all the great deals that Red Auerbach pulled off, but you failed to mention the one that we in Detroit feel was the steal of the '70s. It was the trade in which then- Pistons Coach Dick Vitale gave up Chris Ford and a future draft choice for Earl Tatum. Vitale had his pockets picked—and he didn't get a championship ring.
EDWIN F. PIESKO
There is no doubt that Red Auerbach is one of the great general managers of basketball. However, if he could have given me away, as Frank Deford's article claims, why didn't he?
I feel I have been involved in the deal of a lifetime; I'm playing for the Los Angeles Lakers.
GRETZKY & TEAM
I want to thank Mike DelNagro for his super article on Wayne Gretzky and his youth-enriched team, the Edmonton Oilers (The Lord of the Rinks, Feb. 15). Gretzky has been my favorite hockey player ever since he became a professional in 1978, and although he is rewriting the NHL record books, it's about time his talented teammates got some recognition, too. If the Oilers can keep up their hard work and determination, they will emerge as the Stanley Cup champions.
Camp Hill, Pa.
Your cover photo of Wayne Gretzky ranks among your best ever. Gretzky's fired-up eyes, which show his determination, remind me of Maurice (The Rocket) Richard's. From the blue line in, no one was better at scoring than Richard—until Gretzky came along.
For years I have argued that Bobby Orr was the greatest hockey player of all time. But times have changed. Wayne Gretzky is the greatest hockey player of all time.