After a solid 56-26 regular season in 1973-74, the stage was set for the Celtics’ first NBA Finals appearance since 1968-69. One player in each game has exceptional play and hustle highlighted for the "Tommy Award[permanent dead link]". His number 15 was retired by the Celtics in 1965. Even on a bad night he’ll get his 17 or 18 points.”, Some of the premier offensive players in the league marveled at Heinsohn’s astonishing shot-making flexibility. In NBA history, only teammates Russell and Sam Jones won more championship rings during their playing careers. [1] He is one of five members of the class of 2015 who were directly elected and is just one of four people to be inducted as both a player and coach.[1]. NBA Hall of Fame forward/center and coach who was involved in each of the Boston Celtics' first 17 NBA Championships. Chosen as NBA Rookie of the Year in 1957, he helped the Celtics win eight NBA titles during his nine-year tenure, was named to the All-NBA Second Team for four years, and was an All-Star for six. I was his whipping boy. Tom Heinsohn has been granted Hall of Fame status for his contributions as a player. As the coach was holding a press conference before a playoff game with Syracuse, he lit a cigar Heinsohn had given him, and proceeded to give the reporters — and himself — a start when it blew up in his face. The Celtics claimed Heinsohn as a territorial pick in the 1956 NBA Draft, the same year that Boston coach Red Auerbach worked a deal with the St. Louis Hawks for the rights to a rookie named Bill Russell. Later, Heinsohn reflected that this was one of his most satisfying seasons at the helm, as the Celtics won with a simple, effective game plan — run the fast break and use only three plays.

The Celtics began to steamroll in 1972-73, racking up the best record in the NBA at 68-14, including a 32-8 showing on the road, the second-best mark of all time. Heinsohn is one of the most fit 84-year-old’s you’ll find but at his age, health concerns are an unfortunate but natural occurrence. During the offseason the Celtics drafted Dave Cowens from Florida State.

With no experience as a coach, Heinsohn was supposed to create a team that could carry on the winning ways Boston fans had grown to expect without the services of the greatest defensive center the game had ever seen, and with one of the greatest coaches of all time scrutinizing his every move. Their opponents, the Milwaukee Bucks with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, were favored to win. He played for the Celtics from 1956 to 1965, and also coached the team from 1969 to 1978. Heinsohn’s 37 points helped the Celtics to a thrilling 125-123 double-overtime victory that earned Boston its first NBA championship.

He has also been inducted into the Hall of Fame for his success as a head coach. In Heinsohn’s rookie season as coach, 1969-70, the Celtics won 34 games and lost 48, marking the first time in almost 20 years that Boston had posted a losing record. He was married to Helen Heinsohn until her death in 2008.

Away from the court, Heinsohn enjoys painting and playing golf; he once headed a life insurance company. From 1990 to 1999, Heinsohn was the Celtics' road play-by-play man on WFXT, WSBK and WABU. The Boston blitzkrieg was now underway, and for most of the next decade the Celtics would dominate professional basketball as few teams in any sport ever have. He had a monumental job ahead of him. He became Holy Cross's all-time leading scorer during his three years with the school's basketball team. But Auerbach was too smart and refused to accept cigars from him. Associated With. He led the Celtics in scoring three times during those years, made six All-Star appearances, and was named to the All-NBA Second Team four times. Hopefully, Heinsohn will be able to head into the broadcast booth pretty soon, now that he’s getting proper treatment for his sleep disorder. Tom Heinsohn - Biography. He and Bill Russell were longtime teammates on the Celtics. Off the court, Heinsohn played an important leadership role in the NBA Players Association. The next season Heinsohn and the Celtics won the championship, and they claimed another title in 1976. Heinsohn responded by flying to Illinois to look into the possibility of playing amateur ball for a national industrial league. Most Popular ★ Boost . Sharman, known as one of the NBA’s best pure shooters, claimed Heinsohn had more variety in his repertoire than anyone else in the game. © - use subject to the information collection practices disclosed in our Privacy Policy. For NCAA games, Heinsohn was typically paired with Verne Lundquist. Boston’s two outstanding newcomers combined with the legendary backcourt duo of Sharman and Cousy to forge the best record in the NBA at 44-28.

But then he’ll turn around and hit with five or six straight. Russell missed the first 24 games of the 1956-57 season while helping the United States to a gold medal at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, so Heinsohn claimed the inside track in the race for the NBA Rookie of the Year Award.

But New York derailed Boston’s fast break in the Eastern Conference finals, beating the Celtics in seven games. [3] Heinsohn in the 1988-89 season again only called playoff games, paired with Verne Lundquist. In the climactic seventh game in Milwaukee, Cowens scored 28 points and snatched 14 rebounds to push Boston to a 102-87 win. Content. Heinsohn became the Celtics' head coach beginning in the 1969–70 season. I understood what he was doing, so I could handle it.”, For example, Heinsohn remembered one game in which he had scored more than 20 points and grabbed a dozen rebounds in the first half.

As a junior at St. Michael’s High School he was awarded all-county honors. He has been associated with the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA) for six decades as a player, coach and broadcaster. But it was also the year that Wilt Chamberlain entered the league as Philadelphia’s center. In what he called “guerrilla warfare,” his teams kept the pressure on opponents at all times, controlling the tempo of the game and playing with great intensity. It was Boston’s seventh consecutive championship and the eighth in Heinsohn’s nine seasons. In 1995 Heinsohn received the Jack McMahon Award, given annually by the National Basketball Coaches Association (NBCA) to an individual who has made a special contribution to the NBA coaching profession. On the day his teammate and fellow Holy Cross Crusader Bob Cousy retired, Heinsohn scored his 10,000th career point. In the sixth game Heinsohn contributed 22 points, including a game-winning tip-in at the buzzer that was, he told the Saturday Evening Post, “the biggest thrill I’ve had from basketball.”. Their .829 winning percentage overall was the third highest ever. After the 1987 NBA season, Heinsohn was moved from the primary color analyst role to 2nd on the network's depth chart, being paired with Brent Musburger for the 1987-88 season, calling solely playoff games. He and Bill Russell were longtime teammates on the Celtics. He knew I could take it. Basketball Player #89275. Then his family moved to nearby Union City, New Jersey, and he was introduced to basketball while attending sixth grade at Saint Joseph’s. He also boasted a righthanded hook shot that he lofted from the 5- to 15-foot range, a short-range lefthanded hook, a one-handed set shot and several types of driving layups. “Sure, he takes a few bad shots now and then,” Cousy told the Saturday Evening Post, “but over the long haul the confident player is the one who takes the initiative and wins games for you.”, A former New York Knicks coach added that Heinsohn would “take five miserable shots that’ll make you sick. After turning in his jersey in 1965, Heinsohn coached the Celtics to two more world championships and was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1986. In 2015, he became the fourth person ever enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as both a coach and player after Heinsohn coached the team to two titles in the 1970s and was named NBA Coach of the Year in 1973. The series was decided in a memorable Game 7. Heinsohn is the only person to have the distinction of being involved in an official team capacity in each of the Celtics' 17 championships, as well as each of their 21 NBA Finals appearances. “We got them to points in big games in the fourth quarter where they just didn’t want to play anymore.”. At the start of the 1977-78 season, with the Celtics at 11-23, Heinsohn stepped down. Tommy Heinsohn; Heinsohn at the 2008 championship parade for the Boston Celtics. “We made teams crack in these playoffs,” he told the Boston Globe. Brian Scalabrine, the Celtics' studio analyst, has filled in for Heinsohn during his rare absences at home games and now has taken over for Heinsohn on all road games. 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.