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.