Celtics Legends Tommy Heinsohn, Jo Jo White Speak On Eve Of Hall Induction

The Boston Celtics were well-represented Thursday in Springfield, Mass., as Tommy Heinsohn and Jo Jo White addressed the crowd assembled at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

The official Hall of Fame induction ceremony for the Celtics greats is set for Friday.

It will be the second induction for the 81-year-old Heinsohn, who in 1986 also earned enshrinement as a player.

“It was totally unexpected, to tell you the truth,” Heinsohn said Thursday, via ESPN.com, “because I was on the ballot a few years ago and I got a phone call that said I didn’t make it, but I had support. I figured that was the end of that. All of a sudden, I got a phone call a few years later and the veterans committee elected me. I feel very honored to be in select company, like John Wooden and my teammate Bill Sharman and one of our competitors in Lenny Wilkens.”

White, 68, had to wait 34 years after his playing career ended to receive his call to the Hall. The 6-foot-3 point guard was a seven-time All-Star and played 12 years in the NBA, including 10 with the Celtics and nine under Heinsohn.

His No. 10 — like Heinsohn’s No. 15 — hangs from the rafters at TD Garden.

Heinsohn and White referenced one another in their respective addresses.

“You can bet that you will be ready to go because (Heinsohn) made sure we were ready to go,” White said, via ESPN.com. “… He actually shocked me (as a young coach). I was in awe. Because every timeout, every game, every practice, Tommy was right on top of us to make sure we got the job done.”

The 2015 Hall of Fame class also includes Dikembe Mutombo, John Calipari, Spencer Haywood, John Isaacs, Lindsay Gaze, Louis Dampier, Lisa Leslie, George Raveling and Dick Bavetta. Heinsohn closed his time at the podium with a playful jab at Bavetta, who retired last year after 39 seasons as an NBA referee:

Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@SherrodbCSN

TMZ logo

© 2019 NESN

NESN Shows

Partner of USATODAY Sports Digital Properties