Our Bone Daddy grew up a “dyed in the wool” Boston Celtics fan….who loved dang near every player from 1957 to 1969….when they won the NBA championship 11 out of 13 years….to include Bob Cousy, Bill Russell, Bill Sharman, Frank Ramsey, John Havlicek, Sam Jones, Tom Heinsohn, K C Jones, Bailey Howell, Satch Sanders, Bob Houbregs and of course, Coach Red Auerbach….as each of these players mentioned have all been inducted into The Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame….which is nothing but impressive in every respect…..for there may never have been a greater collection of basketball talent ever assembled on one team. When you consider the make-up of this Celtics dynasty, the heart and soul of this team were Cousy at point guard and Russell at center….while the motor that drove the team was power forward Tom Heinsohn…..as Heinsohn was the only person to have the distinction of being involved in an official team capacity in each of the Celtics’ 17 championships….as well as each of their 21 NBA Finals appearances…..which provides sufficient evidence at to why he is being featured in this story here at ImaSportsphile.
NBA – 1956 To 1965 – Special – “Tommy Heinsohn Ultimate Career Highlights”
Tom Heinsohn (August 26, 1934 – November 9, 2020) was an American professional basketball player…..who was associated with the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA) for six decades as a player, coach and broadcaster. He played for the Celtics from 1956 to 1965….and also coached the team from 1969 to 1978….then he spent over 30 years as the color commentator for the Celtics’ local broadcasts alongside play-by-play commentator Mike Gorman…..as he is regarded as one of the most iconic Celtics figures in the franchise’s history…..who was known during his lifetime for his charisma and loyalty to the team and its traditions. From this he earned the nickname “Mr. Celtic”.
NBA – 1956 To 1965 – NBA TV Special – “Vintage NBA: Celtics Tommy Heinsohn”
Heinsohn was inducted into the Hall of Fame for his contributions as a player….and he was also inducted into the Hall of Fame for his success as a head coach….plus, he helped form the NBA Players Association. Tommy Heinsohn was the only person to have the distinction of being involved in an official team capacity in each of the Celtics’ 17 championships….as well as each of their 21 NBA Finals appearances.
NBA – 1964 – NBA Finals Game 4 – San Francisco Warriors Vs Boston Celtics – 1st Qtr – Featuring Bill Russell vs Wilt Chamberlain
NBA – 1964 – NBA Finals Game 4 – San Francisco Warriors Vs Boston Celtics – 2nd Qtr – Featuring Bill Russell vs Wilt Chamberlain
NBA – 1964 – NBA Finals Game 4 – San Francisco Warriors Vs Boston Celtics – 2nd Half – Featuring Wilt Chamberrlain vs Bill Russell
Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, Heinsohn was a standout at St. Michael’s High School in nearby Union City…..then he accepted a scholarship to Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts…..and became the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,789 points….which was an average of 22.1 points per game. During his senior year, Heinsohn scored a school record 51 points in a game against Boston College…..and averaged 27.4 points per game and 21.1 rebounds per game for the season.
NCAAM Basketball – 2008 – Special Ceremony – Holy Cross University Retires Tommy Heinsoln’s # 24
In 1956, Heinsohn was chosen as the Boston Celtics ‘regional’, or ‘territorial’, draft pick. In his first season, Heinsohn played in the NBA All-Star Game and was named the NBA Rookie of the Year over teammate Bill Russell. He finished his rookie season by winning his first championship ring, scoring 37 points and grabbing 23 rebounds in the double overtime 7th game of the NBA Finals.
NBA – 1956 To 1965 – Celtics Special – “How Good Was Tom Heinsohn Actually?”
Heinsohn was part of a Celtics squad that won eight NBA titles in nine years….which included seven in a row between 1959 and 1965. In NBA history, only teammates Russell and Sam Jones won more championship rings during their playing careers….and Heinsohn’s streak of going to the NBA Finals each season of his nine-year career is unmatched. Heinsohn retired after nine seasons due to a foot injury.
NBA – 1963 – NBA Finals Game 6 Highlights – Lakers Vs Celtics – Featuring Tom Heinsohn 22 Pts 8 reb 3 Ast 2 Stls 1 Blk
During his playing career, Heinsohn was named to six All-Star teams….and on the day his teammate and fellow Holy Cross Crusader Bob Cousy retired, Heinsohn scored his 10,000th career point. His number 15 was retired by the Celtics in 1965…..as the 1st of the “Celtic dynasty” players to have his number retired.
NBA – 1956 To 1965 – Celtics Special – Career Highlights Of Tommy Heinsohn
Off the court, Heinsohn played an important leadership role in the NBA Players Association…..as he was the association’s second president (following founding president Bob Cousy)….and was instrumental in the league’s acceptance of a pension plan for players following a showdown at the All-Star game in 1964…..in which the All-Star players, led by Heinsohn, threatened to strike.
NBA – 1974 – NBA Finals Game 7 Highlights – Milwaukee Bucks Vs Boston Celtics
Heinsohn became the Celtics’ head coach beginning in the 1969–70 season. He led the team to a league best 68–14 record during the 1972–73 season and was named Coach of the Year….albeit Boston was upset in the playoffs. The next season Heinsohn and the Celtics won the championship, and they claimed another title in 1976. He accumulated a career coaching record of 427–263.
NBA – 1976 – NBA Finals Game 5 – Phoenix Suns Vs Boston Celtics – With 3 Overtime Periods
On February 14, 2015, it was announced that Heinsohn would be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame for a 2nd time as a coaching inductee. He is one of five members of the class of 2015 who were directly elected….and is just one of four people to be inducted as both a player and coach.
NBA – 2015 – Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony – “Tommy Heinsoln’s Enshrinement Speech As A Coach”
Heinsohn’s broadcasting career began in 1966….while calling play-by-play for WKBG’s Celtics broadcasts….which was after being asked by Red Auerbach…..as he spent three seasons in this role before becoming coach in 1969. From 1990 to 1999, Heinsohn was the Celtics’ road play-by-play man on WFXT, WSBK and WABU. In 1981, Heinsohn joined Mike Gorman as color commentator in the Celtics’ television broadcasts….as they became one of the longest-tenured tandems in sports broadcasting history….and occasionally, Bob Cousy made appearances with the tandem of Heinsohn and Gorman. On Celtics broadcasts, Heinsohn liked to point out players who displayed extra hustle to help the team by giving them “Tommy Points.”….when one player in each game who had an exceptional play and hustle was highlighted for the “Tommy Award”. During broadcasts he was known for his sense of humor and indignantly questioning game officials when calls against the Celtics appeared to have been made in error.
NBA – 1966 To 1999 – Celtics Special – With Tommy Heinsohn + Mike Gorman – “Tribute: Best Moments And Highlights As The Celtics Broadcast Team”
For a time in the 1980’s, Heinsohn was in the same capacity during CBS’s playoff coverage of the NBA with Dick Stockton….while calling four Finals from 1984 to 1987….in which three involved the Boston Celtics against the Los Angeles Lakers….plus, Heinsohn also teamed with Brent Musburger, Verne Lundquist, and James Brown during his time with CBS. Heinsohn also called NCAA college basketball during the Men’s Tournaments starting with the 1986-87 season….while later devoting more time to calling college games for CBS than the pros….and being used for regular season as well as tournament games until the 1990 NCAA men’s basketball tournament. For NCAA games, Heinsohn was typically paired with Verne Lundquist. After the 1987 NBA season, Heinsohn was moved from the primary color analyst role to 2nd on the network’s depth chart….while being paired with Brent Musburger for the 1987-88 season….and calling solely playoff games. Heinsohn in the 1988-89 season again only called playoff games….when he was paired with Verne Lundquist. In his final season, Heinsohn called a regular season game for CBS….as well as early round 1990 NBA playoff games with James Brown.
NBA – 2020 – NBC Sports Boston – Brad Stevens + Danny Ainge Remember Celtics Legend Tommy Heinsohn
Tommy Heinsohn has transitioned in his career from basketball player, to coach, then to broadcaster….but he’s also stepped away from the court and stepped up to the easel. Away from the court, Heinsohn enjoyed painting and playing golf….and he once headed a life insurance company….then in 1988, he wrote a memoir titled “Give ’em the Hook”, with writer Joe Fitzgerald. Heinsohn says he paints a little bit every day….and he always takes his water colors and oils with him when he goes anywhere….as he likes to paint anything that is outside of his hotel room.
NBA – 2018 – ABC Chronicle 5 WCVB Boston Special – “Twice Gifted – Tommy Heinsohn”
In the later years, Heinsohn worked fewer games due to age and health issues. Brian Scalabrine, the Celtics’ studio analyst, filled in for Heinsohn during his absences at home games and took over for Heinsohn on all road games. He started to take on this role during the 2012–13 NBA season, and during the 2014–2015 NBA season became full-time on road games. When the Celtics had an away game, Heinsohn worked as a studio analyst on the Celtics’ television broadcasts.
NBA – 2013 – NBA Finals – NY Knicks Vs Boston Celtics – With Color Commentator Tommy Heinsohn Going Beserrk!!
Heinsohn died at his home from kidney failure on November 9, 2020, at the age of 86….as a truly iconic Boston Celtic….who spent six decades with the organization….and was affectionately known as Mister Celtic….came to the end of the line of a life well lived.
NBA – 2015 – Naismith Hall Of Fame Special – “60 Days of Summer” – With Tommy Heinsoln
In bringing this story to a conclusion…..I have come to the understanding that if a person is fortunate enough to identify his God-given talents….and that person works on mastering those talents….then his life will bless him with the lifelong joy of doing something throughout his life’s path that brings unquestioning happiness of a life well spent….as this story and these videos go a long way in proving this fact. Tommy Heinsohn played on a team that sent 11 players to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame who played for the Celtics during the nine years he played in the league….and his main role for the team was as “The Shooter”….which was a role in which he never let the team down throughout his entire career….for he was truly the motor that drove the team bus….and we are more than delighted to provide this story of a true Celtic legend.
NBA – 2020 – Boston Celtics Special – Tommy Heinsohn Celtics Tribute: “Rest in Peace”