Red Auerbach used briefcase with a million dollars to try to lure Ralph Sampson to Celtics


The famous Robert Parish trade that netted the Celtics the pick used to select Kevin McHale might not have happened if Red Auerbach had his druthers. 

Appearing on The Herd with Colin Cowherd Wednesday, former NBA center Ralph Sampson said that when the Celtics held the first overall pick in the 1980 draft, Auerbach showed up at his parents’ house with a million dollars and asked the 7-foot-4 Sampson to go to the NBA straight from high school. 

“I wasn’t quite physically ready to come play," Sampson said, 'then I had Red Auerbach come to my parents’ house [with] a million dollars in a briefcase and said, ‘Come out and play for the mighty Boston Celtics.'”

Added Sampson: “I looked at my mom and dad and said, ‘Are we OK? Are you guys OK?’ They said, ‘We worked all of our lives and we’re OK. When you’re ready to go, you’ll tell us, so it’s not the money thing, it’s [whether you’re] ready to play.’”

The Celtics ended up trading the first overall pick to the Warriors for Parish and the third overall pick, with which they selected McHale. The C’s won three NBA titles with Parish and McHale. 

After playing college basketball at Virginia, Sampson was drafted first overall by the Rockets in 1983 and was a four-time NBA All-Star.

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