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YouTube Gold: The Original Sixth Man

Red Auerbach and Frank Ramsey created an enduring legacy

NBA Finals Game 4: Los Angeles Lakers v Boston Celtics
BOSTON - JUNE 10: A detail of the Boston Celtics logo as the Celtics get set to play against the Los Angeles Lakers during Game Four of the 2010 NBA Finals on June 10, 2010 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Under Red Auerbach, the Boston Celtics had some amazing innovations that changed the game.

Bill Russell defined shot blocking and outlet passing. Bob Cousy was the first truly flashy point guard (there’s a great pass he makes on this video) and John Havlicek came to define the sixth man concept, which Auerbach employed to have one of his best, more versatile players come off the bench and give his team a jolt.

But he wasn’t the first.

That would be Frank Ramsey. Ramsey was one of Boston’s better players from 1954 to 1964.

At 6-3, Ramsey was fearless enough to guard guys like 6-11 Nate Thurmond (on at least one occasion Ramsey reportedly just ran under Thurmond when he was elevating for a jumper, completely distracting him) and guards too.

When you watch this video, you’ll see a guy who is small by modern standards but who is quick, who shoots well and who left an enduring mark on the game even though he spent much of his career coming off the bench.