Legend’s death leaves NBA heartbroken
The basketball world has been left heartbroken after the passing of a true legend of the game on Wednesday.
Hall of Fame Boston Celtics player, coach and broadcaster Tom Heinsohn has died at the age of 86, the Boston Globe reported.
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Heinsohn won eight championships as an All-Star forward during the Celtics' dynasty from 1956-1965. He then won two more rings in nine seasons as a coach from 1969-1978 before bringing his legendary and iconic presence to the broadcast booth as a commentator for 40 years.
He was a part of each and every one of the Celtics' 17 NBA championships, as a player, coach or commentator.
The Union City, N.J. native was called "the godfather of the city of Boston" by former teammate and player John Havlicek.
"This is a devastating loss," Wyc Grousbeck, Steve Pagliuca and the Celtics ownership group said in a statement.
"Tommy was the ultimate Celtic. For the past 18 years, our ownership group has relied hugely on Tommy's advice and insights and have revelled in his hundreds of stories about Red Auerbach, Bill Russell, and how the Celtics became a dynasty. He will be remembered forever."
The loss of the Boston legend led to an outpouring of emotion from the basketball community with many recounting stories of their times with the voice of the Celtics.
"Damn RIP Tommy Heinsohn!!!" former Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas tweeted. "'The Little guy' that's the nickname he gave me. Will miss his voice and everything he brought to the game especially Celtics basketball."
Current Celtics player Jaylen Brown wrote: "RIP Tommy Heinsohn you were joy to listen to and learn from my heart is heavy today".
ESPN analyst and former Celtic Kendrick Perkins wrote: "Rest in Paradise Tom Heinsohn #legend",
Fellow former Celtic Leon Powe wrote: "Miss you already, your voice will forever be in my head from playing at TD when making a great hustle play, you giving me a (Tommy Point) the talks we use to have about the game of basketball was the best. You will be missed, but never forgotten."
His longtime partner behind the microphone, Mike Gorman wrote: "Roughly 2800 times I sat down with Tommy to broadcast a game. Every time it was special. HOF player … HOF coach … HOF partner. Celtics Nation has lost its finest voice. Rest In Peace my friend. It has been the privilege of my professional life to be the Mike in Mike & Tommy."
We were rookies together and friends for life. In life there are a limited number of true friends, today I lost one.— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) November 10, 2020
RIP Heiny. pic.twitter.com/nKJn0DqgJJ
In nine seasons as a player, Heinsohn averaged 18.6 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. As coach, his teams went 427-263 as he bolstered his legacy in Boston. His No. 15 has been retired by the Celtics and he is one of only four members of the Basketball Hall of Fame who were inducted as both a player and a coach.
Heinsohn had spent less time in the broadcast booth in recent years as he dealt with health issues. He was known for applauding effort by giving out "Tommy Points" to Celtics players during each game and unapologetically pulling for the team that he was always a part of.
- with Greg Joyce, NY Post
Originally published as Legend's death leaves NBA heartbroken