There was a lot of talk of “Tommy Points” outside TD Garden Tuesday evening, where Celtics fans mourned the death of legendary player, coach and broadcaster Tommy Heinsohn at age 86.
Heinsohn coined the phrase to highlight players on the court who fought for 50-50 balls and attacked the boards.
“Anyone who did a diving play, he’d be like, ‘There’s a ‘Tommy Point’ right there!” fan Steven Smith said.
In its own way, it became a prestigious honor bestowed by the big guy at the broadcast desk. It was the mark of a true Celtic, even if coming from Heinsohn’s booming voice, it might feel more like a brand.
“It was a point you would get from Tommy Heinsohn on a tremendous hustle call. I don’t think anyone ever got three, but if you got one, that was excellent,” remembered fan Mike Foley.
Many fans remembered Heinsohn as the color commentator whose enthusiasm was contagious, but he had two illustrious careers before show business.
Heinsohn won eight titles as a player with the Celtics, including seven straight from 1959 to 1965. He got two more later as a coach, and his total coaching wins — 427 — are second only to Red Auerbach.
Heinsohn’s decades-long place in the Celtics family may resonate most with fans who have grown used to players and coaches jumping from city to city in search of rings and contracts.
“His heart truly was…