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Red Auerbach: The Harvard Business Review Interview

Part 7

HBR: How do you motivate the players?

AUERBACH: Pride, that's all. Pride of excellence. Pride of winning. I tell our guys, "Isn't it nice to go around all summer and say that you're a member of the greatest basketball team in the world."

Of course, we used to do funny things. I mean, how many times can you go in there and say, "Hey, let's win one for the Gipper?" So one day I said to one of the players, Frank Ramsey, "Ramsey, give them a motivating talk." So he walked up to the board and he put down on it, "If you win, $8,000. If you lose, $4,000." And they all broke up.

But the biggest motivating force you can have is the championship ring.

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