Sunday, April 8, 2007


WINNERS: Russell and Auerbach

WINNERS: Russell, Auerbach and Havlicek

WINNERS: Russell and Auerbach

These men contended in a game, not a life-and-death struggle like WW IV, but their successes have many instructive lessons for us. FIRST--

1)**Like General MacArthur, they knew THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR TOTAL VICTORY. They subordinated every individual ambition or distraction to the overwhelming objective of DEFEATING THE OPPONENT. They thought ceaselessly and creatively how to attack the enemy's weak points; how to maximize their own strengths; and how to minimize their own weaknesses. The results speak for themselves: Bill Russell and Red Auerbach were together with the Boston Celtics for 13 years, and they won 11 World Championships...and one of the 2 they didn't win, Bill Russell was injured in the Playoff Finals and couldn't play (1958).

2)**They never got complacent. They understood that, human nature being what it is, when you are #1, your competitors don't stand around and gaze at you in respectful admiration...THEY REDOUBLE THEIR EFFORTS TO SMASH YOU. So the Celtics tried to come up with something or someone new every year, so their opponents would always be kept off-balance.

3)**THEY PRESSURED THEIR OPPONENTS WITHOUT LETUP. Under both Auerbach and Russell, the Celtics were a defensive-oriented team, whose offense actually sprang from their defense: their defenders relentlessly pressured the opponent into bad shots or turnovers, and then the Celtics roared into the fast-break, forcing them back on their heels. This unsparing pressure required great stamina, but the team trained and practiced for it, and were notoriously the best-trained athletes in a league of superbly-trained athletes. As Bill Russell later wrote in the Wall Street Journal:

"Great defense attacks an opponent's offense vs. reacting to it...From high school to the NBA, I played 21 years of organized basketball and won 18 championships, including the record 11 NBA titles, by focusing on our being the better defensive team...Blocking shots, stealing passes and causing turnovers all distract [the opponent's] concentration. Team defense is as much a psychological strategy as it is a tactical weapon.
In the end, an offense feeds off of its defense. And effective offenses begin with effective defense."

4)**They practiced psychological warfare. In Russell's great autobiography, "Go Up for Glory," he describes how, after carefully studying the opponent, the Celtics would deliberately provoke certain players to make them angry: these players performed worse when angry. On the other hand, some opponents performed better when angry. The Celtics would carefully refrain from antagonizing them.

5)**They never backed down from intimidation. The Celtics and Auerbach relished it when their opponents attempted to turn the contest into a brawl. The team regularly included at least one prime "hatchet-man," whose main function was to serve as a physical enforcer against other teams. The Celtic enforcers would cancel out any brawlers on the opposition, forcing the game into a talent-vs.-talent contest. Which is what the Celtics always wanted.

#5 is very important, because our Caliphate enemies ultimately rely on intimidation/extortion as their weapon of choice at every level. Their message always boils down to: "Do what we want or we will kill you." And every day they kill people, up close and personal, who did not do what they wanted. African tribesmen, video sellers, barbers, peaceful clerics of all faiths, women without veils, interpreters, generals, parliamentarians, writers, "disrespectful" filmmakers, elementary-school teachers, and of course cartoonists.

Our appropriate response to any such effort at intimidation must be to instantly identify it as such, and ruthlessly maul the offender to the maximum extent allowed by law. The harsher our response, the less likely these little subversives will be to try to enforce their shariah lunacy here in the free world.

I've written a lot here about winners and winning, and how important it is for us to maintain the will-to-win. But in a basketball game, victory is easy to define: scoring at least 1 point more than the opponent. How do we define victory in World War IV?


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