Tommy Heinsohn Passes Away At Age 86

Tommy Heinsohn, a Hall-of-Famer who has been part of the NBA and involved with the Celtics for more than six decades, has died, according to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. He was 86 years old.

A power forward as an NBA player, Heinsohn was a member of the Celtics’ roster from 1956 through 1965, winning eight titles and making six All-Star teams during that time while posting career averages of 18.6 PPG and 8.8 RPG in 654 games. He was also named the league’s Rookie of the Year in 1957 and helped form the National Basketball Players Association. The franchise retired his jersey (No. 15) after he hung up his sneakers.

Heinsohn later served as the head coach in Boston from 1969 to 1978, leading the Celtics to two more titles during that time and earning NBA Coach of the Year honors in 1973.

For the last four decades, Heinsohn has been a commentator for Celtics games, serving as a play-by-play man, color analyst, and in-studio analyst over the years. He established himself as one of the most recognizable local personalities in the NBA during that time.

“This is a devastating loss,” Wyc Grousbeck and the Celtics’ ownership group said today in a statement. “Tommy was the ultimate Celtic. For the past 18 years, our ownership group has relied hugely on Tommy’s advice and insights and have reveled in his hundreds of stories about Red Auerbach, Bill Russell, and how the Celtics became a dynasty. He will be remembered forever.”

Our condolences go out to Heinsohn’s friends and family.

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11 thoughts on “Tommy Heinsohn Passes Away At Age 86

  1. beegee

    I honestly am heartbroken by this loss. I am 71 and my love for the Celtics has been since I was a little boy for many reasons. Tommy has always been a big part of this love. I also have had the pleasure of meeting and talking to him several times over my life but nothing was better then listening to him talk about the game because you knew how much he loved it and the Celtics. I am sure the red head was waiting to greet him and his number 15 shirt was waiting for him. To all his family, teammates, friends and fans my condolences as we think about this special man

    • Chris_Favreau

      Hey BeeGee…I feel your pain sir. I’m “only”42, but C’s broadcasts aren’t going to be the same without Tommy and his Tommy Points. RIP.

  2. case7187

    I miss his “I love Walter” moments they were some of the greatest moments watching those game RIP

    I hope they still keep the “Tommy award” going

  3. For the past 15+ years, Tommy has been the curmudgeon I make fun of for his homerism but secretly love and wouldn’t have it anyway else. Celtics broadcasts will not be the same. Really sad to hear about this one, rest in peace.

  4. mjtruth

    RIP to one of the greats…such an accomplished career. Besides the playing/coaching stats that show on his resume, he was also integral in starting the players union and establishing free agency for players. He led a player strike before the all star game in an effort to allow players to become free agents.

    Literally changed the game and began player empowerment.

  5. djpiglatin

    I’m a Sixers fan who lives in CT. When we had basic cable it was min live sports. Tommy was a homer that you just had to love. 7 decades with ball. Rest Easy Tommy.


    This is heart breaking news but our dear Lord is it is time to bring Tommy back home to heaven I loved when he was broadcasting the Celtics games he will be missed so his body is RIP but his soul is in heaven in a new body and pain free. Our prayers go out to his family

  7. mike.honcho

    RIP Mr. Heinsohn. His homerism was bombastic, loud and proud – but it’s an iconic and loveable part of the NBA’s rich broadcast history.

    We’ll miss the guy.

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