One of the greatest moments in sports archives history was the application of the ‘Sixth Man’ in basketball. The strategy of the ‘Sixth Man’ is credited to Red Auerbach who coached the NBA Boston Celtics.
Auerbach surmised that his team could demoralize their opponents and turn or add momentum by keeping what would normally be a starting player on the bench and then waiting for the right moment to substitute the player in. The philosophy worked and the Boston Celtics went on to develop some of the best ‘bench players’ or ‘sixth men’ in all of basketball.
The first great sixth man was Frank Ramsey. Other great Celtics to follow were John Havlicek, Don Nelson and Paul Silas. Because the league thought so well of the strategy of the sixth man, a Sixth Man Award was instated in 1982-83. Boston’s Kevin McHale, Detroit Pistons Ricky Pierce, and Indiana Pacers Detlef Schrempf were all twice winners of the Sixth Man Award. Jamal Crawford of the Atlanta Hawks is the latest winner to date.