Boston Celtics legend Tommy Heinsohn passes away at 86

Celtics immortal Tommy Heinsohn has unfortunately passed away.

The Boston Celtics have as many NBA legends to their name as any franchise in the history of sports, and one of the starts that shone brightest was Tommy Heinsohn, who touched multiple generations of fans in the state of Massachusetts. The man who bled Celtic green has unfortunately passed on in what is a tragic moment for the league.

“It’s hard to imagine the Boston Celtics without Tommy Heinsohn,” a statement from the Boston Celtics said. “There isn’t a generation of Celtics fans for whom Tommy’s presence hasn’t been felt. He is the only person to be an active participant in each of the Celtics’ 17 World Championships, an extraordinary and singular legacy.”

“We take this time to celebrate his life and legacy, and to share in the sorrow of his passing with his family, friends, and fans,” the statement continued. “As long as there are the Boston Celtics, Tommy’s spirit will remain alive.”

Heinsohn, who spent his entire professional career with the Celtics in various capacities on and off the floor, passed away at the age of 86.

“This is a devastating loss. Tommy was the ultimate Celtic,” Celtics ownership said in a statement. “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.”

Tommy Heinsohn is synonymous with the Celtics franchise

After a standout college career at Holy Cross culminated in a selection by the local team in 1956, Heinsohn would go on to win eight championships in his nine years as a player, averaging 18.6 points and 8.8 rebounds along the way. An undersized power forward at 6-foot-7 and just over 210 pounds, Heinsohn was a forerunner for many of today’s small-ball big men.

After his days as a player ended, Heinsohn was named head coach after Bill Russell vacated that post. Heinsohn would win 62 percent of his games in charge of the Celtics, taking home two titles. He is one of the few who has named a Hall of Famer as both a player and a coach.

A younger generation of fans will remember Heinsohn for his days in the broadcast booth, where his frequent battles with poor refereeing, propensity to give out “Tommy Points” for hard-nosed play, fan-like intensity for the game helped him remain in that role for several decades. The likes of Larry Bird, the 2008 champions, and Jayson Tatum have all had their games called by Heinsohn. All together, Heinsohn has been a part of this organization for all 21 NBA Finals appearances and all 17 championships.

Even among so many legendary Celtics, Heinsohn’s unique legacy stands alone. His loss will reverberate throughout Boston and the NBA as a whole.

Next: Tommy Heinsohn was a legend

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