Tommy Heinsohn, who as a Boston Celtics player, coach and broadcaster over more than 60 years was with the team for all 17 of its NBA championships, died Tuesday. He was 86.
“This is a devastating loss,” the team’s owners said in a statement. “Tommy was the ultimate Celtic. 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.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver hailed Heinsohn for being “synonymous with success,” noting that he was one of the few basketball greats inducted to the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach, before continuing his career in broadcasting.
“Celtics games will not be the same without Tommy, and he will be dearly missed by those who share his fervor for basketball,” Silver said.
A Holy Cross product who was a territorial draft pick by the Celtics in 1956, Heinsohn beat out teammate Russell for the NBA’s rookie of the year award that season and tallied 39 points with 23 rebounds in Game 7 of the NBA Finals against the St. Louis Hawks.
It was the franchise’s first title — and the first of eight in nine years for Heinsohn and Russell. Heinsohn was the team’s leading scorer in four of the championship seasons.
Heinsohn retired in…