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Celtics legend Tommy Heinsohn dies at 86

Celtics, Tommy Heinsohn

Boston Celtics legend and Hall of Fame big man Tommy Heinsohn passed away at the age of 86 on Tuesday, per John Powers of The Boston Globe.

Heinsohn is one of the most revered players and figures in franchise history.

The Celtics selected Heinsohn out of Holy Cross in the 1956 NBA Draft, and he promptly made the All-Star team in his first season as a pro, also winning NBA Rookie of the Year honors that year.

Heinsohn would go on to make six All-Star teams and four All-NBA teams while winning eight NBA titles as part of the most eminent dynasty in league history. He finished with career averages of 18.6 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game over the course of nine brilliant seasons.

But Heinsohn’s playing career is just one part of his place in Celtics lore. Heinsohn won a pair of titles in 1974 and 1976 as head coach of the Celtics, a position he held for nine years. He also had one of the longest tenures in the NBA as part of the team’s broadcast booth.

Chad Finn of Boston.com spoke with Heinsohn in 2016 about his career:

“Well, Mike [Gorman] put it best. There’s a generation – it’s an old generation, my friend, but it’s a generation! – that remembers me best as a player,” Heinsohn said, via Finn. There’s a generation that remembers me best as a coach. There’s a generation that thinks of me as a broadcaster. And kids, they think I’m Shrek! I’ll tell you what, I’ll take all of it!”

This year has seen a number of sporting legends come and go.

Heinsohn is the latest, though he will never be forgotten in the annals of NBA history, least of all by Celtics fans.