View Full Version : Racist letter threatened Auerbach

07-09-2008, 09:13 AM
A seemingly nondescript letter arrived at a Manhattan postal facility in 1982, bound for Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight. The letter, however, contained the ravings of a racist extortionist, including a death threat targeting Boston Celtics legend Red Auerbach. For 26 years, the anonymous letter's existence remained secret to the public, the stuff of an unsolved mystery stashed in the files of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. No one revealed that a disturbed segregationist scrawled a hateful diatribe in which he wished unspeakable harm upon Auerbach, a civil rights pioneer who drafted the NBA's first African-American (Chuck Cooper in 1950), became the first NBA coach to start five black players in a game (in the 1963-64 season), and appointed the league's first black coach (Bill Russell in 1966). No one disclosed that the letter implored Knight to invite Auerbach to a Big Ten basketball game so the writer could attack the Celtics president. Or that the author described a scenario in which he "would have grabbed a tire iron or pipe and cracked Auerbach's bald skull into about a thousand pieces." The vulgar, 12-page letter, obtained by the Globe from the FBI under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act, had been archived since the bureau's pursuit of the writer quietly ended in vain 26 years ago.


07-09-2008, 10:14 AM
That's.. hmm. But Red did a good thing though drafting African-American players.