Hall of Fame Celtics player, coach and broadcaster Tom Heinsohn has died at the age of 86, the Boston Globe reported Tuesday.
Heinsohn won eight championships as an All-Star forward during the Celtics’ dynasty from 1956-1965. He then won two more rings in nine seasons as a coach from 1969-1978 before bringing his legendary and iconic presence to the broadcast booth as a commentator for 40 years.
The Union City, N.J. native was called “the godfather of the city of Boston” by former teammate and player John Havlicek.
“This is a devastat ing loss,” Wyc Grousbeck, Steve Pagliuca and the Celtics ownership group said in a statement
In nine seasons as a player, Heinsohn averaged 18.6 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. As coach, his teams went 427-263 as he bolstered his legacy in Boston. His No. 15 has been retired by the Celtics and he is one of only four members of the Basketball Hall of Fame who were inducted as both a player and a coach.
Heinsohn had spent less time in the broadcast booth in recent years as he dealt with health issues. He was known for applauding effort by giving out “Tommy Points” to Celtics players during each game and unapologetically pulling for the team that he was always a part of.
“Damn RIP Tommy Heinsohn!!!” former Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas tweeted. “‘The Little guy’ that’s the nickname he gave me. Will miss his voice and everything he brought to the game especially Celtics basketball.”