Thomas William Heinsohn (born August 26, 1934 in Jersey City, New Jersey) is a former professional basketball player, known for his time as a player on the Boston Celtics National Basketball Association (NBA) team. He also coached the team from 1970 to 1978. He is currently the Color commentator on the Celtics' television broadcasts on CSN New England.
Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, Heinsohn was a standout at St. Michael's High School in nearby Union City. He accepted a scholarship to Holy Cross and became the school's all-time leading scorer with 1,789 points, an average of 22.1 points per game. During his senior year, Heinsohn scored a school record 51 points in a game against Boston College.
In 1956, Heinsohn was chosen as the Boston Celtics 'regional', or 'territorial', draft pick. In his first season, Heinsohn played in an NBA All-Star Game, was named the NBA Rookie of the Year, and won his first championship ring. He was part of a Celtics squad that won eight NBA titles in nine years, including eight in a row between 1959 and 1966. In NBA history, only teammates Bill Russell and Sam Jones won more championship rings during their playing careers. During his playing career, Heinsohn was named to six All-Star teams. On the day his teammate and fellow Holy Cross Crusader Bob Cousy retired, Heinsohn scored his 10,000th career point. His number 15 was retired by the Celtics in 1965.
Off the court, Heinsohn played an important leadership role in the NBA Players Association. He was the association's second president (following founding president Bob Cousy), and was instrumental in the league's acceptance of free agency following a showdown at the All-Star game in 1964, in which the All-Star players, led by Heinsohn, threatened to strike.
Heinsohn became the Celtics' head coach beginning in the 1969-70 season. He led the team to a league best 68-14 record during the 1972-73 season and was named Coach of the Year, although Boston was upset in the playoffs. The next season Heinsohn and the Celtics won the championship, and they claimed another title in 1976. He accumulated a career coaching record of 427-263.
Heinsohn's broadcasting career began in 1966, calling play-by-play for WKBG's Celtic broadcasts. He would spend three seasons in this role before becoming coach in 1969-70 season. From 1990-1999, Heinsohn was the Celtics road play-by-play man on WFXT, WSBK, and WABU.
In 1981, the now-retired Heinsohn joined Mike Gorman as Color commentator in the Celtics' TV broadcasts; they have since become one of the longest-tenured tandems in sports broadcasting history. Occasionally, Bob Cousy makes appearances with the tandem of Gorman and Heinsohn. Until 1999, the tandem of Gorman and Heinsohn were only exclusive for the Celtics' home schedule, except for several CBS games where Heinsohn is also involved. For a time in the 1980s, he was in the same capacity during CBS' coverage of the NBA Finals (with Dick Stockton).
He also points out players who display extra hustle and are willing to "risk life and limb" to help the team by giving them "Tommy Points". One player in each game has exceptional play and hustle highlighted for the "Tommy Award". During broadcasts, he is known for his sense of humor and his tendency to question the calls of game officials. Heinsohn is often biased towards the Celtics.
Away from the court, Heinsohn enjoys painting and playing golf; he once headed a life insurance company.
Due to health concerns, he is now assigned exclusively as color analyst for home games, with Donny Marshall taking care of the road schedule. As a result, he is now the studio analyst while the Celtics are on the road.
- 1957 Rookie of the Year
- Six-time NBA All-Star
- 1973 Coach of the Year
- Named to the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1986
- Recipient of the 1995 Jack McMahon Award by the National Basketball Coaches Association
- Tommy Heinsohn's Basketball Hall of Fame profile
- Heinsohn's bio at NBA.com
- A story from SportsCentral about Heinsohn
- Tommy Points handed out by Tommy Heinsohn
- Actual quotes from Tommy Heinsohn during Boston Celtics games
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