Tommy Heinsohn’s name has been synonymous with the Boston Celtics over the last several decades. But before Tommy bled green, he earned some fame as part of another Massachusetts basketball stronghold.
Heinsohn, who won eight NBA titles as a Celtics player and two more as a coach before becoming a beloved color commentator on team broadcasts, played his college ball at Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., from 1953 to 1956. The Crusaders had a very strong team in the late 1940s and early 1950s, winning the 1947 NCAA championship behind freshman sensation Bob Cousy.
In 1954, Holy Cross made another strong run to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) and defeated Duquesne in the finals to take home the crown. Since the NIT actually meant something back then, Heinsohn and his teammates received a pretty awesome honor: getting introduced on the famous “Ed Sullivan Show.”
Holy Cross relived the cool moment in a “Throwback Thursday” Facebook post, with “Big Tom Heinsohn” making his cameo at about the 1:15 mark.
Heinsohn went on to become the Crusaders’ all-time leading scorer with 1,789 points and was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006, but we’d imagine this appearance on national television is one of his most memorable moments from his college days.