'Red and Me,' Russell book on Auerbach, in works for '09 release

NEW YORK -- Basketball great Bill Russell is working on a memoir about his friendship with the late Red Auerbach, the Boston Celtics coach for whom Russell starred on a long run of championship teams.

"Red and Me" will be published by HarperCollins in Spring 2009.

"Arnold Jacob Auerbach passed on Oct. 28, 2006 -- almost 50 years from when I joined his Boston Celtics," Russell said Monday in a statement. "I felt a tremendous sense of loss, a huge void in my life. There was an empty space in my psyche where a special person had been. I thought about that at Red's funeral. And the fact that there was no logical reason why we ever should've become friends, because we came from such diverse places. I thought about how much I missed his friendship."

Russell, 74, was the center and competitive heart for the great Celtic teams of the 1950s and 1960s, when other players included Bob Cousy, John Havlicek and Sam Jones.