Boston Celtics legend Tom Heinsohn died Tuesday. He was 86 years old.
The Hall of Famer was the quintessential Celtic, spending almost his entire basketball life within the organization. Not only was he a tremendous player for the Celtics, but he was also a highly successful head coach and became a beloved broadcaster for the team’s regional network broadcasts.
Born in 1934 in New Jersey, Heinsohn went on to play his college basketball at Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. The Celtics made him a territorial selection in the 1956 NBA Draft, and Heinsohn went on to spend his entire nine-year playing career with the Celtics. In that short career, he won Rookie of the Year, was a six-time All-Star and won a ridiculous eight NBA titles.
The Celtics hired him as coach prior to the 1969-70 season, and he was pivotal in a rebuilding effort that culminated with NBA titles in 1974 and 1976. Heinsohn was inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1986 and again for his coaching efforts in 2015.
Heinsohn also had a highly successful TV career. His on-air work actually dates back to the 1960s on the radio, but he’s best known for being the Celtics’ TV analyst for decades. In addition to that local work, Heinsohn also worked national broadcasts, including the NBA Finals.
NBC Sports Boston released the following statement:
“We are immensely saddened by the passing of our beloved friend and colleague Tommy Heinsohn.
“Like his time as a player and a coach, Tommy also became a legend as a broadcaster over the past 39 years. He brought tremendous passion and excitement to his commentary and analysis, and he helped inform and entertain generations of Celtics fans.
“His loyalty and contributions to the network, franchise and city are immeasurable, and will forever be recognized and honored.
“We send our love and deepest condolences to the entire Heinsohn family. Tommy will be missed and will forever be in our hearts.”