Tom Heinsohn Rumors
Heinsohn, who basically bleeds green for his love of the Celtics, says if the Celtics get a man on Horford, the Hawks’ All-Star big man will have difficulty scoring. “I didn’t see it, but that’s his opinion, you gotta respect it,” Horford said on Monday after Hawks practice when told of what Heinsohn said. “I do [respect his opinion]. That’s his opinion and that’s how he feels.”
“Oh, wow, I’m sure Al is going to come out and prove something,” teammate Kent Bazemore said when told what Heinsohn believes. “You know Al’s a great player and he’s extended his range. He can shoot it now, he can protect the rim and blocks shots and he’s a great leader. I could go on all day about all the accolades he has. Al’s a great teammate. “There’s always someone that’s going to say a guy’s not a good player. [Even] Jesus Christ had haters. What can you say?”
“They (the Celtics) had to be totally despondent going into the locker room. The fact that they turned it around shows what kind of heart this basketball team has. That is the encouraging part. The additional encouraging part is if they can go out and stay aggressive at both ends of the floor, they can beat this team because (Al) Horford, as much as you think he’s a great player, he’s not a great player. Get a man on him and he has trouble scoring.”
Horford, the Hawks’ four-time all-star center, was rumored to be target of the Celtics at the NBA trade deadline and a player they might pursue as a free agent this summer. Heinsohn’s co-hosts may not have shared his view. Kyle Draper followed the comment by saying, “I’ll tell you what, if he put on green next season, Tommy wants his jersey retired, hanging from the rafters.”
He is green for life, unabashedly. “The ultimate homer,” he called himself, with no prompting. In an era in which sports broadcasting has been professionalized, corporatized, nationalized, and often homogenized, Heinsohn is honest hometown heart. Thanks to social media and the NBA’s “League Pass” TV package, younger, out-of-town fans have been discovering Heinsohn’s voice, now on CSN New England.
“There’s never any ambiguity of where he’s coming from,” said Bob Ryan, the longtime Boston Globe sports columnist. “It’s not about fairness. It’s about the Celtics, and the rightness and wrongness of what is being done to them.” “Tommy firmly believes it’s five-on-eight every game,” said Mike Gorman, referring to the five opposing players on the floor—and the three officials.
As a coach, Heinsohn won NBA titles in 1974 and ’76, and finished with a .619 winning percentage in 8½ seasons. “I had fun coaching,” he told the Globe. “I loved management before I coached. I was in the management end of the life insurance business. I managed an agency for four years, managing and training supervisors. And when the opportunity came to coach, I jumped at it because I’d be dealing with more motivated people. Being a coach becomes very political after awhile. That was not my forte.”