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Can you really hate Tommy Heinsohn?

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I have a hard time speaking logically about Gerald Green, Al Jefferson, and Rajon Rondo. Tommy Heinsohn is somewhat responsible for his repeated claims that they are all one shot away from making the All Star team. Furthermore, he has inflated the abilities of Tony Allen, Ryan Gomes, Kendrick Perkins, and Delonte West. His blatant disregard for objectivity is also evident in his tirades against referees, borderline hatred of other players, and overall paranoia towards seemingly anything or anyone outside of the Boston Celtics organization.

Critics argue that Heinsohn owes his viewers an honest, objective take on the action. Others complain that he is "obnoxious" or a "loud mouth." And some disdainfully call him a homer. But as a Celtics fan can you really hate Tommy Heinsohn?

Granted there are more famous Celtics greats alive and well, such as Bill Russell and Bob Cousy. Yet I believe Heinsohn, partly due to his work on FSN, is one of, if not the most important living member of the Celtics family. This is not simply because of his decades long involvement with the Celtics. Or the fact that he won eight titles as a player and two as a coach. When it comes down to it no one embodies the Red Auerbach "us against the world" mentality quite like Heinsohn. He constantly reminds Celtics fans that the franchise used to be different, special. It was not just another team. In a time period where the C's can easily be compared to the Memphis Grizzlies, fans need Heinsohn more than ever. Consider the following exchange that occurred after Tony Allen's season ending knee injury:

"Dire straits. Dire straits. You know where dire straits is?" - Heinsohn

"Africa?" - Mike Gorman

"Just south of frustration." - Heinsohn

Print can't do it justice. A depressed Heinsohn absentmindedly muttered his thoughts until Gorman finally relayed a confused answer. And that is why Heinsohn is important. Forget the unbiased look at the refs, the Tommy points, or the cackling after every big Gerald Green play. Somehow Heinsohn still cares about the franchise so much that it drastically affects his mood. Objectivity be damned.

Two Final Thoughts:

  1. That is the third time I have referenced Heinsohn and Gorman's "dire straits" exchange. And it is probably not the last.
  2. I just want the Celtics to matter again. Getting the 5th pick was disappointing. But it was almost worse when the SportsCenter anchors laughed about it and openly mocked Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers. Do you think Scott Van Pelt could poke fun at Red Auerbach on TV and get away with it?