Celtics legend Heinsohn dies at 86

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Former Boston Celtics player and head coach Tommy Heinsohn, who has died aged 86
Former Boston Celtics player and head coach Tommy Heinsohn, who has died aged 86

Boston Celtics legend Tommy Heinsohn, who won 10 NBA championships with the club as a player and coach, died Tuesday, the NBA team said. He was 86.

Hall of Famer Heinsohn was part of the Celtics team which dominated US basketball during the late 1950s to mid-1960s, a period which included a run of seven straight titles between 1959 and 1965.

He also led Boston to titles as a coach in 1974 and 1976 during a nine-year reign between 1969-1978.

"This is a devastating loss," the Celtics said in a statement. "Tommy was the ultimate Celtic. For the past 18 years, our ownership group has relied hugely on Tommy's advice and insights."

Heinsohn led the Celtics scoring in four of his eight championship-winning seasons as a player.

He finished his playing career in 1965 with 12,194 points and 5,749 rebounds, before returning to coach the team in 1969.

Following the end of his coaching career in 1978, Heinsohn made a successful transition into broadcasting, reporting on the Celtics through the 1980s and 1990s for television and radio.

"It’s hard to imagine the Boston Celtics without Tommy Heinsohn," the Celtics said on Tuesday. "There isn't a generation of Celtics fans for whom Tommy's presence hasn't been felt."

rcw/nr