Remembering Helen Heinsohn

Welcome to the Garden where we are awaiting the start of tonight’s holiday tilt between the Golden State Warriors and your Boston Celtics.

Tonight’s festivities will get off to a somber beginning, as the team pays tribute to Helen Heinsohn, wife of Tommy, and best known to fans as the “Redhead From Needham.”

Helen died Monday after a long battle with lung and brain cancer. I was fortunate to get to share a meal or two with the Heinsohns before several playoff games last season, and let me tell you, it was quite a treat. As Tommy and Mike Lynch swapped stories about bad referees from the 70’s, Helen cracked one joke after another about how nobody should be remembering that stuff, and my god boys, don’t we have better things to talk about?

I suppose you had to be there. But to this 30-year old Boston “newbie,” I was amazed at how ingrained both of them are into the Celtics family. It doesn’t matter who owned the team, who coached the team, or who played for the team… the Heinsohns were a constant – a living breathing connection to the Celtics tradition.

The Celtics paid tribute to Helen with a moment of silence before the singing of the National Anthem. Tommy and his sons are here, but he won’t be broadcasting for the rest of the week. I’m sure he’ll be back soon, bringing his unique stylings to Celtics broadcasts, but as we head into the holiday weekend, we’ll be thinking of our favorite neighbors right around the corner in Needham.

–SI

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