Is it Time for Tommy to Pass the Reins to Donny?


It might be time for the enigmatic Tommy Heinsohn to turn things over to this man.

I know what I’ve got to say is sacrilege, but I’ve never been all that fond of religion so I’ll say it anyways.  I’m starting to grow tired of Tommy Heinsohn‘s act.

Now let me first establish that I am a Celtics fan through and through: I’ve been into the Green since I first became a sports fan in the early ’90s (I was previously a Ninja Turtles and Superman fan) and followed them through the lean years, the mini-resurgence under The Truth and Employee #8, and then once again through the leanest of lean years, 2006-2007, the year of The Injury and The Tank.  Basically, I grew up on Tommy Points, and have always tried to bring the lessons I’ve learned from Tommy during Celtics games to my personal play and coaching.  So don’t worry about me being an outsider criticizing the local patriarch.

Tommy’s enthusiasm and energy at 73-years-old are phenomenal, he knows how to judge talent, coach talent, use his own talents, and has a working encyclopedia of basketball knowledge for a brain from 50 years in the game.

The problem with Tommy is he never stopped being a Celtic.  Not that he should entirely considering he works for the organization that covers the team, but he no longer actually works for the team itself.  So toning down his act would be a good move as a broadcaster, considering the code of conduct for his current profession includes some form of neutrality.  After all, there’s no cheering in the press box.

Mike Gorman, Tommy’s running mate at the point since 1981 is a great example of the ideal commentator: he calls it like it is, but the fans knows where he stands–he wants the Celtics to win. 

Donny Marshall, of UConn fame and NBA mediocrity, knows this as well.  He has personal friendships with players still in the game, including Celtic Ray Allen, but, in his limited opportunities calling the game, has shown an unbiased stance.

When I say unbiased, I don’t mean uninterested, what I’m really talking about is avoiding spending an inordinate amount of time ragging on the refs.  We know the refs are bad, this is the NBA.  Tim Donaghy used to officiate in the NBA.  He’s a criminal with gambling ties to the mob.  The point has been driven into the ground: NBA refs are pretty bad sometimes.

However, this does not mean NBA refs favor WHOMEVER is playing the Celtics.  Things really do even out in the long run, no matter how bad they seem (unless you’re in Phoenix, but even in that case, let it go and you’ll feel so much better).

Therein lies Tommy’s problem, he can’t let it go.  Over the past few years he has become more and more incapable of letting a bad call go.  It’s his tragic flaw.  A disproportionate amount of time is spent every broadcast complaining about the officiating, and this segment has grown to sound quite like whining.

If Tommy cannot contain himself during the game, he and Donny should switch positions, allowing the Greenest of all the Green there has ever been time to root like a fan during the games and provide us with great breakdowns of basketball Xs and Os like he does so well after the final buzzer.

It comes down to this: I’m calling on the great Tommy Heinsohn to either tone down his act or hand over the reins to Donny Marshall. 


4 Responses to Is it Time for Tommy to Pass the Reins to Donny?

  1. James says:

    You make some good points here about Tommy. I like his enthusiasm and homer tendency towards the Celtics but even as a color commentator, he’s getting a little old and paranoid at times which can be embarrassing. My guess is that with Tommy not doing road games this year that he’ll become like Cousy within the next few years and just commentate during some home games and spend a lot of the season retired in Florida or something. I like Donny Marshall and also think Greg Dickerson does a bit of an underrated job on the sidelines and can be pretty funny at times.

  2. John Trumain says:

    Tommy is the man!!!

    he is the best announcer in Boston or at least tied with Jerry Remy…you are crazy…he’s got it all …passion, character, history, …humor…and its no act! that’s him …just an amazing guy…you have no clue about Tommy if you are calling it an act..

    Listening to Donny is like listening to grass grow…he’s got no passion…he just links generic, cliched phrases together….weak sauce!!!

    Oh and Dickerson is a complete clown a laughing stock …kiss ass…I love when Vrabel makes him look like the idiotic sycophant that he is

  3. Sportsattitude says:

    Don’t get to hear Tommy’s act in Philly but I can identify with those home team announcers who just can’t let it ago. We have some Flyers’ broadcasters who question every single call against Philly. While they show some balance when bad calls go against the opposition as well, it does get quite tiresome when you know which team they are quietly rooting for…not so quietly. Tommy may have all the energy in the world but at this point he’s bound to say something over the air one day that will detract from his great career to-date.

  4. Peggy says:

    Oh god no!! Please do not punish Celtic’s fans with the likes of Donny Marshall. He has got to be the worst kiss arse announcer I have had to listen to. He’s just horrible. He’s up their with Dickerson and Felger. Thank god for Tommy Heinsohn. When the refs are doing a lousy job Heinsohn tells it like it is. He makes the listener feel like he’s a true fan. Sportsattitude is totally wrong when he says Tommy will say something to detract from his career. He’s loved and admired by his listeners. The others are just imposters.

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