Here are some of Red's thoughts on the Celtics' owners over the years.
One of the many owners we've had in Boston was a man named Marvin Kratter, who was chairman of the board at National Equities, a big company in New York with a lot of holdings, primarily in real estate. I liked Marvin, I still do. In fact, I've gone into some investments with him since he sold the club in 1968. He was a business building genius, a super salesman, a brilliant man who also had a large ego. He'd bring clients up to Boston to see a game and use his company jet. But instead of having someone in our office phone ahead to the restaurant where they'd be eating, Marvin loved to call from the plane, halfway between Boston and New York and order right there from the menu. Things like that. And, of course, hed have limousines waiting for his entourage when they arrived at the airport. That's the way he was, and I kind of got a kick out of him. It wasn't me. No way. That's never been my style. But it was fun to watch and he was fun to be around - except when I felt his outgoing manner was detrimental to our operation. I remember one time when Bailey Howell got something in his eye, a very minor situation. I said we'd have our own opthamologist look at it, but, no, Marvin starts yelling, "Hey, we've got a great eye doctor down in New York, let's get him down there." He scared poor Bailey half to death. One time he had a direct phone line installed from his office in New York to my office in Boston, just so we could "keep in touch." Well, I knew what that meant. Marvin was a fan, and he'd be on that phone five or six times a day if I didn't do something about it. So every time he called I made believe the phone was out of order on my end. Finally I said, "Marvin, this damn thing's never working. Let's get it out of here." It was gone after a couple of weeks. One day just before an expansion draft, he calls a meeting of all his department heads at his office in the Pan Am building in New York. There they are, his board of directors, and there I am, sitting with them. Pretty soon I discover that the purpose of this meeting is to decide which players we're going to protect in the upcoming draft. I can't believe it! I start to say something but Marvin waves me off: "Not yet, Red. In a minute." He turns to one of his vice presidents. "What do you think of not protecting Nelson and Sanders?" The guy says, "Well, Marvin, you know what you're doing. If you think that's okay, I go along with you." He turns to next guy, who tells him, "I'm not totally in accord on not protecting Sanders, but I'll go along with Nelson." Meanwhile I'm going nuts. Finally he calls on Jack Waldron, the only one who showed me any guts. "Marvin," he says, "the only thing I can say is that you're paying Red a lot of money to run the team. Don't you think we ought to hear what he has to say?" Now, at last, it's my turn. I get up and I'm hot. Really steamed. "You mean I can actually have the floor?" They all look at me like they know what's coming. "I don't know what the hell is going on here." I tell them. "But this is the damndest thing I've ever seen in my life. You guys discussing the skills of basketball players is like having a group of civilians run a war. It's ridiculous. A joke. You're talking to your friends, talking to people you know, and coming back with all their crazy opinions. Having you guys run a draft would be like asking me to pick out a piece of real estate and tell you what it's worth. I wouldn't do that. I wouldn't presume to do it. I wouldn't have the balls to sit here and tell you people how to run your business. But that's exactly what you've been doing to me - and if this is how you plan to run things, then you can take your ballclub and shove it! I want no part of it. And I'll issue a release to the press immediately saying I've got nothing to do with what's about to happen." "Red, Red." Marvin says. "Don't get so excited." He puts his arm around me and takes me over to the window. "Look," he says, "Isn't that a beautiful view? I told him what he could do with his view. "I'm not here to look at any damn views," I said. "I'm here to get something squared away. And, Marvin, I meant what I said." Then I left. They eventually came around to my way of thinking, but that's what I mean by a little knowledge being a dangerous thing.
Here is another story about the Celtics owner that almost made Red leave the Celtics.
Then there was John Y Brown, the straw that nearly broke this camel's back. John and his partner, Harry Mangurian, owned the Buffalo Braves at the same time Irv Levin and his partner, Harold Lipton, owned the Celtics. John wanted out of Buffalo. He looked at several cities and finally decided on San Diego. Irv, meanwhile, was a California guy who wanted to stay in the NBA, but not necessarily in Boston, particularly after the fans in the Garden gave h im a good going over on John Havlicek's retirement day. That was in April 1978. Our record that year was 32-50, and no one in Boston was happy. I couldn't blame them. Brown and Levin got together and made a deal to swap franchises. Levin went to San Diego with the Braves, who were renamed the Clippers, and Brown came to Boston. The transaction included not just the ballclubs, but some individual members of the teams, too. Kermit Washington, Kevin Kunnert and our second first round pick that year, Freeman Williams - the first was Larry Bird, thank God they didn't take him - went to San Diego, and Tiny Archibald, Marvin Barnes and Billy Knight came to us. That was the first time in all my years in Boston that a player transaction had been made without my knowledge. I learned about all this in a phone call I got from Brown, and by the time I hung up I realized this ownership was going to be different from anything I'd ever experienced before. John was flamboyant, to say the least, and we clashed right from the start. I never questioned his right to do the crazy things he did; he was the owner, and I alwasy acknowledged that. But I'd tell him, "John, you and I have different personalities, different theories, and if you don't sell the team I'm going to leave." I also told him he had the right to let me go, though I strongly hinted that if he exercised that right he might have some trouble getting along in Boston. Would he have minded seeing me go? I don't know. I never knew what was going through that man's mind. I know he never indicated a strong desire to see me stay. There was no controlling that guy. No way at all. The situation with John Y was out of hand from the first moment he set foot in town. And it grew worse as time went on. He'd call all over the league, trying to pick the brains of other teams' coaches and GMs, then come running to me with all these ideas which purportedly were his own. But I knew where they were coming from, because all of these people kept telling me what was going on. They'd call me up ans ask, "Red, why's this guy bothering me?" After a while they got tired of his routine and figured, "I'll fix him." They began lying to him, feeding him bad information, giving him nothing but double talk, and he never knew it. He never had a clue. He was too busy playing the big shot owner.
Next, more about John Y Brown and he almost drove Red out of Boston.