Amongst the symphony of bouncing basketballs and whistles, Joe Amorosino is entering his 52nd year as general manager of the Boston Celtics summer camps.
Amorosino’s connection with the camps began in the early 1960s when he met Celtic coach Red Auerbach at a memorial service for the late Celtics’s founder and original owner Walter Brown. From there, the two developed a close relationship.
“Red and I had this friendship that developed right to the end,” said Amorosino. “All through my life at different stages, he was there to mentor me.”
Auerbach was the person who began the tradition of NBA camps. He ran a camp for around 180 kids in Marshfield, Massachusetts, with Celtics players. Soon after they met, Amorosino followed in his footsteps by starting his own camp with former Celtic Larry Siegfried.
By the time Amorosino had gotten his camp off the ground, he said there were three camps run by Celtics personnel. Aside from Amorosino’s camp, Red Auerbach was running his own camp, and Celtics point guard Bob Cousy was putting an end to his.
Now in 2019, Amorosino is the sole overseer of the Celtics camps. He said that this year there will be 15 camp sessions in six Massachusetts locations, and there are plans for more sessions in the future. To manage all of the camps, Amorosino says that he relies a lot on his staff.
“The success of the camp is your coaches…It’s not me, it’s not anybody else, they’re the ones that make it go,” said Amorosino.
Amorosino cited the trust that exists between he and his staff as the reason for the camp’s success. To explain the nature of his relationship with his staff, he compared it to the relationship between a school’s principal and its teachers.
“I have all classroom teachers…If a principal says, ‘Hey, I want you standing outside your classroom at 7:25 every morning to greet your students,’ where are they gonna be? They’re gonna be right there,” he said.
As far as coaching and operations at the camps go, Amorosino said he has kept the same mantra throughout his entire career. It’s a piece of knowledge bestowed upon him by Red Auerbach.
“Anybody who thinks they know everything about this game, or anything at all…they don’t,” he said. “If you see somebody who thinks they know it all, and they’re an egomaniac, get ‘em out.”
Amorosino said there is always room to learn and grow in the game of basketball. When asked if he had any great success stories of people who attended the camp, Amorosino responded by saying that he has had attendees to go on to play professionally, but that it wasn’t about that. He said the camp’s goal is to get people to improve, and continue their love of basketball.
One coach, Mike Lamie, has been helping Amorosino at the camps for over 40 years, and was coached by him in high school. Lamie says he has learned many things from Amorosino throughout his life, but there was one thing that seems to represent Amorosino’s philosophy as a coach, and as a person.
Lamie quoted Amorosino: “I teach so that one day when you see a kid in the schoolyard you can teach them what I taught you: To love the game of basketball.”