Thomas William "Tommy" Heinsohn (born August 26, 1934) is an American retired 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 seven in a row between 1959 and 1965. 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, after being asked by Red Auerbach. 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 "". 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 games due to age and health issues. 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 started to take on this role during the 2012-13 NBA season, and during the 2014–2015 NBA season became full-time on road games. When the Celtics are having a road game, 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 %|
|Boston||1969–70||82||34||48||.415||6th in Eastern||Missed Playoffs|
|Boston||1970–71||82||44||38||.537||3rd in Eastern||Missed Playoffs|
|Boston||1971–72||82||56||26||.683||4th in Eastern||11||5||6||.455||Lost in Conf. Finals|
|Boston||1972–73||82||68||14||.829||1st in Atlantic||13||7||6||.538||Lost in Conf. Finals|
|Boston||1973–74||82||56||26||.683||1st in Atlantic||18||12||6||.667||Won NBA Championship|
|Boston||1974–75||82||60||22||.732||1st in Atlantic||11||6||5||.545||Lost in Conf. Finals|
|Boston||1975–76||82||54||28||.659||1st in Atlantic||18||12||6||.667||Won NBA Championship|
|Boston||1976–77||82||44||38||.537||2nd in Atlantic||9||5||4||.556||Lost in Conf. Semifinals|
|Boston||1977–78||34||11||23||.324||3rd in Atlantic||(released)|