Basketball: One Last Smoke

Red Auerbach has this thing about cigars. He never smokes on the bench until his Boston Celtics have the game all wrapped up. Once they do, though, he crams an enormous stogie into his mouth and settles contentedly back wreathed in smiles and smoke. In 20 years—16 of them with the Celtics—Red has won 1,036 games, and performed the ritual countless times. Last week, on the night of his retirement, he lit up one last smoke.

The Celtics usually win the N.B.A. championship by the simple stratagem of walloping the sneakers off everyone in sight. Not this year. The Celtics had...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!