Death of Celtics HOF Tommy Heinsohn


Caption: Tommy Heinsohn captivated the NBA and its fans for many years. Photo Credit: Grady Johnson

Grady Johnson, Staff Writer

The passing of a well-known Hall of Famer has cast a somber light on the end of the NBA season. The Celtics have produced unbelievable teams with many talented players over the decades, including Bill Russell, Red Auerbach, and Larry Bird. However, there is one that stands out among all those icons: Tommy Heinsohn. Tommy Heinsohn was called Mr. Celtic. Heinsohn was best known for being the 6’7” forward who was always sinking unbelievable hook shots but also as a loving coach and father figure. Heinsohn had been more to the fans than just a coach and player as an article by the New York Times states, “Despite his starring role in one of sports’ most dominant dynasties, Heinsohn became even better known and loved in Boston for being the Celtics’ color commentator and unofficial mascot for more than four decades.”

In 1967, Heinsohn started his first year in broadcasting after finishing up his playing career in which he helped lead the Boston Celtics in each of his nine seasons, winning eight out of nine of those seasons. A few years later, Heinsohn would eventually become the new Celtics head coach, pushing the Celtics to two more Final’s victories, one in 1974 and one in 1976. In 1969, Heinsohn would be named Coach of the Year and served in that role until 1978. He would eventually wrap his astonishing coaching career with a record of 427-263. In a statement by the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, “Celtics games will not be the same without Tommy, and he will be dearly missed by those who share his fervor for basketball. We extend our deepest sympathies to Tommy’s family, his friends and the Celtics organization.”

Tommy Heinsohn will not just go down as one of the greatest announcers ever. He will be remembered not just for what he did in games but what he meant for the NBA fans and players who looked up to him. “Tommy was the ultimate Celtic. For the past 18 years, our ownership group has relied hugely on Tommy’s advice and insights and have reveled in his hundreds of stories about Red Auerbach, Bill Russell and how the Celtics became a dynasty. He will be remembered forever,” says the Celtics ownership.

Junior Garrett Rothwell states that “As I had watched many NBA games, I had been touched by the history of what Tommy Heinsohn had done as a coach and a player. It was awesome watching the NBA recognize him for what he had done for the community of the NBA. He will not be forgotten and will be missed greatly.”