Part 3 of the series on Homerism is on Tommy Heinsohn, a man who loves the Celtics and has given most of his life to them in one facet or another as player, coach and analyst.
Since 1981, Tommy Heinsohn has been the color analyst on the Celtics' television broadcasts and like Johnny Most, Heinsohn bleeds green and sees everything through green colored glasses. He is part of a team with Mike Gorman that has been broadcasting Celtics games for 25 years and they make up TV's longest running telecast duo.
Tom Heinsohn is a true representative of Boston Celtics' pride. Known for his hard-nosed style of play, yet possessing a superb shooting touch and good body control, Tom Heinsohn was vital in the Boston Celtics' dynasty of the 1950s and 1960s. Chosen as NBA Rookie of the Year in 1957, he helped the Celtics win eight NBA titles during his nine-year tenure, was named to the All-NBA Second Team for four years, and was an All-Star for six. His number 15 was retired by the Celtics in 1966.
But that isn't the end of Tommy's time with the Celtics. In 1969, three years after Red Auerbach retired, Tom Heinsohn was offered the post of head coach of the Boston Celtics. In what he called "guerrilla warfare," his teams kept the pressure on opponents at all times, controlling the tempo of the game and playing with great intensity.
. During Heinsohn's eight full seasons as coach, Boston won five Eastern Division titles in a row, took two NBA Championships and compiled a 416-240 record. Heinsohn was replaced during the 1977-78 season as his veteran team got off to a slow start.
But Tommy still wasn't done with the Celtics. In 1981, the now-retired Heinsohn joined Mike Gorman as color commentator in the Celtics' TV broadcasts; they have since become one of the longest-tenured tandems in sports broadcasting history. Tommy was enshrined in the Hall of Fame on May 6, 1986.
Before Walter McCarty was traded, at least once or twice a game, you would hear Tommy shout out "I love Waltah!!!" And since McCarty's departure, he has been heard shouting "I love Perk!" or "I love Delonte!" And you truly believe that he does love every player on this team.
Every game, you will hear Tommy mention the Redhead in Needham. This is Tommy's wife that he always acknowledges in every broadcast. He is a very loyal man, and not just to the Celtics!
When the referees make a call against the Celtics, you will hear Tommy yell, "Go home to your mother!!" And if they do make a questionable call against the Celtics, Tommy will always feel that his beloved Celtics have been robbed. Even if the replay shows differently. I don't think I have ever heard Tommy agree with a call against the Celtics.
The most common quote heard during games is "Give him a Tommy Point!" Tommy Points have even earned an entry in the Urban Dictionary:
An award given to an NBA player, usually a member of the Celtics, by Celtics color commentator Tommy Heinsohn (NBA Rookie of the Year 1956-57 for the Boston Celtics, NBA Hall of Fame Inductee 1986) for a great play that goes up and beyond the call of duty expected of the player. E.g. A steal, a blocked shot or great defensive play, etc.
Paul Pierce cuts through a few tough defenders to score 2 "That's a Tommy Point!" Ricky Davis goes baseline to make a shot "Tommy Point for Ricky!" Delonte West makes a hustle play that ends up saving the game "GIVE 'IM TEN THOUSAND TOMMY POINTS!!!"
Although I have never heard Tommy give out ten thousand Tommy Points, he does give out several during each game. There is even a site, Tommy Points.com that tracks the Tommy Points and the Tommy Awards given out in each game. The Tommy Award is given to the player who went above and beyond in hustle and effort during each game.
Last season was Tommy's 50th with the Celtics as player, coach and analyst. FSN had a special about his life entitled Forever Green that included the fact that he is an rather accomplished artist on top of everything else. Tommy even has his own My Space page for Celtics fans to link to.
Tommy loves the Celtics. You can hear it in every broadcast and every word he speaks about the team. I am sure the man lives on green koolaid. Like Most before him, he sees little wrong in this team and is enthusiastic about all that he sees from them on the floor. If you check out the other teams' message boards, there is usually at least one thread about how Tommy is one of the biggest homers going. I know when I get the other teams' feeds on League Pass, I miss Tommy. I miss his enthusiasm and his view of the game through green colored glasses. Since I see the team through green colored glasses as well, Tommy's broadcasts are just what I love to hear.
It is no surprise that the team has asked Tommy (along with the Redhead from Needham) to represent the team at the Draft Lottery on May 22. Tommy Heinsohn embodies all that is Celtics Pride and I can't think of a better person to represent us at the lottery.
Great piece Suldog. Thanks for pointing it out. You are an excellent writer. If you haven't read it, you will enjoy the pice on Johnny Most below. Thank you for your kind words and the link to your great article.