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8.07.2008

Red's Bout with Buyer's Remorse over Russell

After Red Auerbach traded away Ed Macauley and Cliff Hagan for Bill Russell, Russell had to fulfill his commitment to the United States Olympic Basketball Team before he could join the Celtics. Russell's tour of duty for the Olympic Team began with a series of exhibition games. One of the first stops on the tour was Washington, D.C., Auerbach's home.

Red had only seen Russell play in person once, and he'd paid more attention to a player on the other team, a guy by the name of Tommy Heinsohn, whom the Celtics selected later in the same draft that they got Russell.

So Red figured he'd go watch his top draft pick show everyone what a brilliant move he had made to acquire the San Francisco grad.

Instead, what Auerbach witnessed was what Russell still calls the worst game he ever played at any level.

Russell grabbed only six rebounds. He took nine shots, but missed them all, and finished the final five minutes of the game on the bench.

In his autobiography, Red later admitted wondering how big of a blunder he had committed in acquiring #6.

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