Pregame Post-Ups: Stevens Reflects on Relationship With Tommy
Sunday, May 9 - Heat at Celtics
Pregame – Stevens Reflects on Relationship With Tommy Heinsohn
Sunday marks the beginning a special tradition for the Boston Celtics, as the organization celebrates the inaugural Tommy Heinsohn Day. On the six-month anniversary of his death, Tommy’s legacy will be brought to light through a series of tributes that will be shown inside TD Garden and on NBC Sports Boston throughout the Celtics’ afternoon matchup with the Miami Heat.
Head coach Brad Stevens shared his tribute Sunday morning, as he spoke at great length on his relationship with Tommy and what he meant to the franchise and the city of Boston over more than half of a century.
“I don't know how many people over six decades could impact an organization and a city with his play, his coaching, his voice, calling the games, the way that he did,” Stevens said ahead of tip-off. “A tremendous person, not only loved listening to him and hearing him call games, but more so loved sitting in my office, closing the door, meeting him for lunch or talking to him on the phone, and just enjoyed his perspective.”
Stevens cherished every one of those meetings because it allowed him to pick one of the greatest basketball minds in NBA history; someone who had seen the game from every possible perspective over several generations.
“The one thing, as Tommy had been in media for a long time, he was a player for a long time, but he was a coach, and a really good one, and I think I always appreciated he had great perspective not only on the game, and he was obviously loved to play fast and loved to play physical and loved to play a great style of ball, but he also had a great almost empathy for the players and empathy for the coaches on how long the season is and how challenging and how you have to ride the ups and downs,” Stevens said. “So to have him as a resource and a sounding board was really nice.”
Looking back, Stevens still can hardly believe that he had such a unique opportunity in getting to know Tommy and so many of the Celtics Legends, and it’s something that he will forever cherish.
“When I first got here (in 2013), Tommy Heinsohn walks in, (John) Havlicek walks in, (Bill) Russell gets his statue. That's all in my first eight weeks of coaching here,” Stevens said. “You're just constantly pinching yourself of, 'Is this real?' He's one of the greats. It's a great day to celebrate him, as any day would be.”
Fans at home can tune into the complete celebration of Tommy’s life, which will be broadcast throughout the afternoon on NBC Sports Boston.
- Taylor Snow