8.13.2008

Red Auerbach: The Harvard Business Review Interview

Part 15

HBR: What about the other Mr. Brown, John Y.?

AUERBACH: The other Brown, he had a tremendous ego, like he knew it all. He used to call up different general managers around the league to pick their brains, and they'd lie to him. They'd feed him all this information and then they'd call me up and ask, "Hey, what does that guy really want?"

And he'd make deals. Well, he made one great big deal that could have destroyed the team, without even consulting me.

HBR: You worked for 30 years to build the team and the franchise. Could one owner really destroy it?

AUERBACH: He did ruin it. We just happened to put it back together again, luckily. One wrong guy can ruin it so fast your head will swim.

HBR: How does one person ruin the whole franchise?

AUERBACH: For instance, you make a wrong move that costs you a few million dollars. If you make a trade for a player who's getting a million dollars a year and he doesn't produce, all of a sudden you're stuck paying three or four million dollars for an unproductive situation. That happens all the time in the league, and most of these guys shrug it off. To me, a player like that is a distraction.

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