Born In: Jersey City, New Jersey, United States
Tom Heinsohn was an American professional basketball player, coach and broadcaster. He is regarded as one of the greatest basketball players and coaches of all time. Introduced to basketball at an early age, Heinsohn’s talent showed throughout his school and college days. When he was drafted into the ‘Boston Celtics’ team Heinsohn turned out to be the most sensational rookie. Heinsohn and his team ruled the game of basketball. Heinsohn was aggressive and agile in his play. His teammates nicknamed him ‘Tommy Gun’ referring to the number of times that he tossed up the ball in each game. Once he retired from active play, Heinsohn moved to broadcasting and coaching. He continued to be an expert commentator and was one of the most recognisable voices. Heinsohn had an artistic side to him, when he was not into basketball, he worked at his easel.
Also Known As: Thomas William Heinsohn
Died At Age: 86
Spouse/Ex-: Helen J. Weiss (m. ?–2008)
father: William B. Heinsohn
mother: Bessie Heinsohn
children: David, Donna, Paul
Born Country: United States
place of death: Needham, Massachusetts, United States
Notable Alumni: Saint Michael
Cause of Death: Kidney Failure
City: Jersey City, New Jersey
U.S. State: New Jersey
education: College Of The Holy Cross, Saint Michael
Tom Heinsohn’s professional career started when he was picked up by the ‘Boston Celtics’ in 1956. In his very first year, he was named NBA ‘Rookie of the Year’. His winning streak continued throughout the time he played as starting forward with the ‘Boston Celtics’. In the nine seasons that he played, the team won eight NBA titles. Heinsohn had the unique achievement of playing in six NBA All Star Games. He retired from the game at thirty years of age. In his honour the ‘Boston Celtics’ retired his number 15 jersey in 1965.
It was in these circumstances that Tom Heinsohn’s career as a coach began. The first few seasons the team were dismal, the Celtics went down to the bottom of the NBA. Heinsohn had new players to work with, he redesigned strategies using the players’ strengths. By his fourth season the Celtics were division champions. In his fifth season they had won the world championship. They won the NBA championship again in 1976.
His coaching career ended only eighteen months after winning the championship. It was said that with the ownership of the franchise changing, the team was in a disarray and Coach Heinsohn had lost the will to fight.
Tom Heinsohn joined Mike Gorman as an expert commentator in 1981. The two of them created history as the longest-running commentator pair in sports broadcasting. He is known for giving out ‘Tommy Points’ to players who hustled. When his wife was sick with cancer he would often refer to her in his commentary saying things like “The Redhead from Needham” wouldn’t like that”.
Tom Heinsohn was a very popular commentator and his take on the game, his vociferous support for the ‘Boston Celtics’ and hearty and fun style struck a chord with viewers. He also won three Emmy awards as a broadcaster.
Heinsohn was married to Helen J. Weiss till 2008, when she died of cancer. Heinsohn had three children; sons Paul and David, and daughter Donna. His granddaughter Brooke Heinsohn is an upcoming soccer player.
Tom Heinsohn started painting as a kid and later honed his skills by learning from a professional artist during his broadcasting career. He did numerous art shows over the years.
Tom Heinsohn died on November 9, 2020, at his home fromkidney failure. He was 86.
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