The Boston Celtics traditionally listen whenÂ Tommy Heinsohn speaks.
Kyrie Irving credited the Basketball Hall of Famer for the star performance he delivered Tuesday in the Celtics’ 108-105 victory over the Detroit Pistons at TD Garden.
After breaking the 30-point barrier for the first time this season (31 points onÂ 10-of-16 shooting), Irving told NBC Sports Boston how Heinsohn’s recent criticism about his weight motivated him to work harder on his fitness.
âShout out to my man Tommy Heinsohn, though,” Irving said. “Real talk, he got me in shape.â
Heinsohn, who won 10 NBA championships as a Celtics player and coach and during his 62-plus-year association with the franchise, first referred to Irving’s weight Oct. 20 during NBC Sports Boston’s broadcast of Boston’s win over the New York Knicks. He brought up the issue of Irving’s physique again last Saturday.
Irving detailed Tuesday to NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg how Heinsohn’s insight affected him.
“I caught wind of it, probably like a week ago,” Irving said. “And it was bothering me because it was the most honest thing that anyone had said about the way I was playing because I literally had to try to match a level that I had playing at last year, but also become better. So how do you do that? I had to really put an emphasis on my body and how Iâm taking care of my mind.
“That was one of the realest things that I could have heard. As a competitor, if that doesn’t irk you, itch inside you, of you wanting to be better, especially when a guy — Tommy Heinsohn, you canât do any wrong in his eyes if youâre a Celtic. You canât doÂ anyÂ wrong. And I appreciate that. And it was the truth.”
Like all great past, present and future Celtics, Irving has no choice but to handle the truth when Heinsohn airs it.