Fire up the victory cigar!
He stalked the Celtics [team stats] sidelines with a giant stick of fire in his hand at every victory.
But when this year's team won championship No. 17 without cigar-chompin' Red Auerbach there to take part in the celebration, Celtics guard Paul Pierce [stats], the MVP of the NBA Finals, lit one in Auerbach's honor as he hoisted the championship trophy over his head.
He's set off a brush fire of renewed passion for the stogie.
"As long as Red Auerbach is remembered, cigars will always be linked to the Celtics," said Mike Turgeon, 40, of South Boston. He was lighting up inside Cigar Masters on Boylston Street on Friday, a day after images of Pierce and Celtics forward Kevin Garnett gripping gnarly brown cigars at the victory rally were beamed about the globe.
"We don't smoke a ton," said Turgeon's buddy, Joel Gagne, 35, of Jamaica Plain. "But every now and then we like a good cigar."
The shop was packed Thursday during the team's rolling victory parade through downtown and Back Bay, where signs urged fans to light up in memory of the great Celtics coach, a refreshing politically incorrect message that attracted business to Cigar Masters.
"It seemed like every drunk kid from Southie came in here," said Patrick Kelly, who works in the humidor at the cigar bar. "Everyone was like, ‘We want what Red smoked.' That's a $30 Hoya de Monterey." He said most settled for similar-looking smokes, at a far more affordable price.
"They didn't care," he said. "It was more the essense of smoking a cigar, for them to connect with someone they admire."
The shop makes no excuses for catering to the wealthy. Most of the patrons have money or know how to dress the part. The VIP room in the back is a monument to heavy wood, iron buckles and clasps, and leather, lots of leather.
But the cigar-soaked air was shared Friday by some holdouts from the Celtics celebration, college kids who flopped on the couches as though ready for a Grand Theft Auto marathon. They puffed away, dressed head to toe in cheap Red Sox [team stats] and Celtics garb, unaware they were granted a dispensation by management for the sin of not removing their caps.
"Normally after 7, no one is allowed to wear hats," said a manager, who debated scolding the puffing little group.
Despite the run on tobacco shops for cigars, there has been little condemnation from the American Cancer Society, although high-profile athletes were seen smoking on national television. The group's Web site states cigar smoking is just as dangerous as cigarettes, and cigar smokers are at greater risk of oral and throat cancer.
An American Cancer Society spokeswoman did issue a tepid warning yesterday.
"I think it sends a messege, explicitly to young people, that smoking is OK," Kate Langstone said. "Tobacco in any form is dangerous and poses serious health problems."
Source: Boston Herald