Independent Investigator & pliable af
I know many of you guys are Celtics fans, this one hurts. Feels like we lose a Celtics great every year. Nobody was more of a Celtic than Tommy
Damn this one does hurt.
I saw him play and coach and of course years of great broadcasting.
He was one of the very few in any sport who was great at all 3. Hell, how many ex-players who were all-stars were also good coaches? Bird is the only other one I can think of.
He was a very very good coach. And funny as hell.
Now hes smokin a cigar with Red.
Two good post that highlight a lot what really made Tommy great. A true renaissance man that could do it al. So many layers. Would be employed in any era bc of how tough, smart and skilled he was. Physically and mental very tough. Too young to see him play but seen enough to know how great he was and he was one of the best announcers. Him and Mike were unbelievable together. Almost like Madden & Pat.Bill Russell said that Tom Heinsohn was the most talented basketball player he ever played with. That alone would be enough to set someone apart. But it barely begins to cover this man's contribution to the sport and the city of Boston. Red Auerbach used Tom as his locker room punching bag, because he knew he could take it, and Red could get his point across without damaging anyone else's fragile ego. He was relentless, but Russ actually though Red should have rode him more. That's how good he was. Every decision Heinsohn made after retiring as a player was considered, and as much as his basketball acumen was keen, took human and personal aspects into consideration. I'd say he is what everyone thinks Phil Jackson is, only better.
Tom is loved, but he is among the most locally underappreciated sports stars in Boston history, as people think of M.L. Carr merely as the guy who waived a white towel. His humble personality and outgoing Fred Flintstone voice made him a target of fans when he coached, and many felt he simply "didn't blow" the title winning series in '74 vs. the Bucks and in '76 vs. the Suns. As a broadcaster he was a homer like all of the old Celts; but his criticism of the officials was 99% spot on correct.
I was happy that my high school classmate Wyc Grousbeck and his partners rescued us from ThanksDad Gaston, but immediately apprehensive about hiring Ainge as the czar, as Trader Danny's philosophy was fundamentally counter to Auerbach's. As scintillating as the run of great moves was in the six months after losing the 2007 lottery were, after winning the title in '08 we were frankly set up to win at least two more. The Lakers, Bulls and Spurs did so by simply not screwing it up. And Tom Heinsohn made it clear that we needed to keep James Posey in the fold. But Danny fiddled and diddled and let Posey go, and I said, "That's it. There will be no more titles." Sadly, I was right.
To promote the fledgling league, the old Celts used to barnstorm across New England playing for local crowds, and Tommy never really stopped promoting the game. He inherited the unofficial title of sharpest basketball mind in Boston, if not the world, when Red passed away.
Whenever we turned on the TV, Tom was a beloved close member of the family. We loved, trusted and listened to him. I guess that's his greatest legacy, love. Of basketball, and each other.