Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Thanks, Red.

Red Auerbach was buried in a simple graveside ceremony Tuesday, with Hall of Famers Bill Russell and John Thompson and commissioner David Stern among those paying last respects. About 150 family, friends and special guests attended the private burial for the NBA great at the King David Memorial Gardens in suburban Washington. Mourners chanted Psalm 23 and stood in silence as Auerbach's casket was lowered, then chanted the Mourner's Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead. Stern was among those who took part in the tradition of shoveling dirt onto the grave.

Stern said the service was appropriate for a man who was direct and often blunt, without much regard for fluff or ceremony. "The utter simplicity was fitting for Red," Stern said. "Even the simplicity was more than what he would have wanted." Auerbach, who won nine NBA titles with the Celtics as a coach and seven more as a general manager, died after a heart attack near his Washington home Saturday at age 89. "He had a great run," Stern said. "He fooled us into thinking it would never end."

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