Heinsohn during a game against the Philadelphia Warriors, circa 1962
August 26, 1934 |
Jersey City, New Jersey
|Listed height||6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)|
|Listed weight||218 lb (99 kg)|
|High school||Saint Michael's
(Union City, New Jersey)
|College||Holy Cross (1953–1956)|
|NBA draft||1956 / Pick: Territorial Pick|
|Selected by the Boston Celtics|
|Position||Forward / Center|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Points||12,194 (18.6 ppg)|
|Rebounds||5,749 (8.8 rpg)|
|Assists||1,318 (2.0 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
|Basketball Hall of Fame as player|
|Basketball Hall of Fame as coach|
Thomas William "Tommy" Heinsohn (born August 26, 1934) is a retired American professional basketball player. He has been associated with the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA) for six decades as a player, coach and broadcaster. He played for the Celtics from 1956 to 1965, and also coached the team from 1969 to 1978. He has been granted Hall of Fame Status for his success as a player. He has also been inducted into the hall of fame as a coach. He helped form the NBA players union. 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. 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 over teammate Bill Russell, 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 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.
On February 14, 2015, it was announced that Heinsohn will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame for a second time as a coaching inductee. 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.
Heinsohn's broadcasting career began in 1966, calling play-by-play for WKBG's Celtics broadcasts. He spent three seasons in this role before becoming coach in 1969. From 1990 to 1999, Heinsohn was the Celtics' road play-by-play man on WFXT, WSBK and WABU.
In 1981, 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. For a time in the 1980s, he was in the same capacity during CBS's playoff coverage of the NBA (with Dick Stockton), calling four Finals from 1984 to 1987, three of which involved the Boston Celtics against the Los Angeles Lakers. He also teamed with Brent Musburger and James Brown during his time with CBS.
On Celtic broadcasts, Heinsohn likes to point out players who display extra hustle 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 indignantly questioning game officials when calls against the Celtics appear to be made in error.
Recently, Heinsohn has worked fewer road games due to age and health issues. Donny Marshall, the Celtics' studio analyst, has filled in for Heinsohn during his absences. Brian Scalabrine also took on this role during the 2012-13 NBA season. When he's not working a road game with Mike Gorman, Heinsohn works as a studio analyst on the Celtics' television broadcasts.
Awards and honors
- 10-time NBA Champion (eight as a player, two as a head coach)
- 1957 Rookie of the Year
- Six-time NBA All-Star
- 1973 Coach of the Year
- Two-time Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee (as a player in 1986, and as a coach in 2015)
- Recipient of the 1995 Jack McMahon Award by the National Basketball Coaches Association
- Recipient of the 2009 Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award by the NBA Coaches Association
- Number 15 retired by the Boston Celtics.
- Number 24 retired by Holy Cross
|Regular season||G||Games coached||W||Games won||L||Games lost||W–L %||Win-loss %|
|Post season||PG||Playoff games||PW||Playoff wins||PL||Playoff losses||PW–L %||Playoff win-loss %|
|BOS||1969–70||82||34||48||.415||6th in Eastern||Missed Playoffs|
|BOS||1970–71||82||44||38||.537||3rd in Eastern||Missed Playoffs|
|BOS||1971–72||82||56||26||.683||4th in Eastern||11||5||6||.455||Lost in Conf. Finals|
|BOS||1972–73||82||68||14||.829||1st in Atlantic||13||7||6||.538||Lost in Conf. Finals|
|BOS||1973–74||82||56||26||.683||1st in Atlantic||18||12||6||.667||Won NBA Championship|
|BOS||1974–75||82||60||22||.732||1st in Atlantic||11||6||5||.545||Lost in Conf. Finals|
|BOS||1975–76||82||54||28||.659||1st in Atlantic||18||12||6||.667||Won NBA Championship|
|BOS||1976–77||82||44||38||.537||2nd in Atlantic||9||5||4||.556||Lost in Conf. Semifinals|
|BOS||1977–78||34||11||23||.324||3rd in Atlantic||(released)|
- List of NCAA Division I men's basketball players with 30 or more rebounds in a game
- List of NBA players with most championships
- Tom Heinsohn at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
- Tom Heinsohn at the Internet Movie Database
- "Five Direct-Elect Members Announced for the Class of 2015 by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame" (Press release). Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. February 14, 2015. Retrieved February 14, 2015.