Red Auerbach: The Harvard Business Review Interview

Part 13

HBR: You place such a great emphasis on teamwork and Celtics pride. Does it bother you that there's a players' union?

AUERBACH: It did at first, sure. I think they've done some good things for the players, no question about that. But they don't concern themselves with ownership. They want this, they want that, and you realize that if you give them all of it, you'll lose money. But they don't care. They don't want to know about your problems. They're interested in feathering their own nests. They figure, what's the difference? So the owner sells out. There's always someone with the ego out there who'll buy another franchise, mainly because of this ego factor and the idea of national recognition.

Well, eventually that could stop too. A lot of these super-wealthy people who indulge themselves in sports say they've got so much money they don't care if they lose five million dollars a year. Then as soon as they lose five million dollars they want to get out. They all want to get out, they run like thieves. It's not really the money. It's the fact that they spent the money, they lost the money, and they still didn't win.

But there's got to be a happy medium. There's got to be a meeting point where the players realize that if they get everything they want, the owner can't stay in business.

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