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Criticism of Tommy Heinsohn's TV commentary goes back 53 years

Tommy Heinsohn has been around the Boston Celtics for so long, he seems to have a padlocked connection to the team. He has played the role of player, coach and analyst going back 64 years. The guy Red Auerbach called "the oldest 27-year-old body in the history of sports" earned eight Championship rings with The Green as a player and two more as coach. But his work as a TV analyst often spawns criticism from fans that view his analysis as perhaps too slanted in favor of Boston. These occasional attacks on Tommy's rhetoric go back as much as 53 years (from Bob Ryan's book, Scribe: My Life In Sports


Everybody talks about (Celtics radio announcer) Johnny Most, and nobody watches Celtics games on TV without listening to him on the radio. That's too bad because if you really want a laugh, you should listen to Tommy Heinsohn, who is so partisan he makes Most seem like Walter Cronkite. Most is essentially a reporter, however ridiculous he may sound on occasion. Heinsohn is not; he is simply an ex-Celtic and a fanatic with no conception of professionalism on the air. He is the best argument for banning ex-athletes from the mike you are ever going to hear.

Ryan was correct, at least in part. While watching televised Celtics games in the 1960's, I turned for play-by-play commentary to Johnny Most on the radio, with the TV sound turned off. As long as you realized that the affronts by Boston's opponents of the night were not the arrest-able offenses portrayed by Most, his analysis was just fine.

We have to forgive Tommy for his partisan commentary, giving the opposition too little credit and the Guys in Green too many accolades. It is great to have the "oldest body" still around. But don't expect him to change. The die is cast. He knows no other way.

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