I.T., Pierce react to death of Celtics legend Tommy Heinsohn originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Isaiah Thomas was a fan favorite during his Boston Celtics tenure. He has Tommy Heinsohn in part to thank.
The iconic Celtics broadcaster, who died Monday at age 86, was a champion of the underdog and gravitated to players who played with passion and grit.
So, when Thomas came to Boston in February 2015 and played his way into a starting job, he quickly became a favorite of Heinsohn, who bestowed a fitting nickname on the 5-foot-9 point guard: "The Little Guy."
That nickname stuck with Thomas as he blossomed into an All-Star and helped lead the Celtics out of their rebuild -- and it was on Thomas' mind Tuesday when he heard of Heinsohn's passing.
Damn RIP Tommy Heinsohn!!! “The Little guy” that’s the nickname he gave me. Will miss his voice and everything he brought to the game especially Celtics basketball
— Isaiah Thomas (@isaiahthomas) November 10, 2020
Celtics Talk Podcast: Remembering Tommy Heinsohn | Listen & subscribe
Thomas joined several other former Celtics players who reacted to the sobering news on Twitter. C's legend Paul Pierce and ex-teammate Kendrick Perkins weighed in, as did recent Boston players Evan Turner and Shane Larkin.
— Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) November 10, 2020
My love and prayers goes out to the family of Mr. Tommy Heinsohn.
I’m thankful for the impact you left on the game and for all the “tommy points!”
Gone but never forgotten
— Evan Turner (@thekidet) November 10, 2020
Just heard about the passing of Tommy Heinsohn. Was always an honor winning those Tommy awards. Rest In Peace big fella 🙏🏽🙏🏽 @celtics
— Shane Larkin (@ShaneLarkin_3) November 10, 2020
Heinsohn's contributions to the Celtics extend well beyond broadcasting -- he won 10 total titles in Boston as a player and coach -- but his voice is an enduring part of a legacy that C's players will remember fondly.
UPDATE (4:20 p.m. ET): Celtics wing Jaylen Brown also shared a tribute to Heinsohn on Twitter.
RIP Tommy Heinsohn you were joy to listen to and learn from my heart is heavy today
— Jaylen Brown (@FCHWPO) November 10, 2020
Former Celtics forward and 1981 NBA Finals MVP Cedric Maxwell shared his thoughts on Heinsohn's passing as well.