“Boy does it hurt when it’s not going to be your ring.” – Tom Heinsohn
With just seconds remaining in Game 7 of the Celtics’ 1984 NBA Finals victory over our rival Lakers, the camera pans in on a disappointed Magic Johnson.
Trailing by seven with under 30 seconds to play, Magic Johnson’s face displays complete and utter hopelessness.
In a moment of rare empathy for the rival Lakers, Tom softly utters “Boy does it hurt when it’s not going to be your ring.”
An eight-time champion as a player, two-time champion as a coach, and now a champion as a broadcaster, Tom Heinsohn was known for winning. Additionally, he was known as a bit of a “homer” as he frequently favored his Celtics behind the microphone.
In a moment of Celtic euphoria that would soon culminate in the fans storming the parquet floor in the Boston Garden, the player and competitor in Heinsohn came to the forefront.
With ten championships combined as both a player and head coach, Heinsohn will always be known as a winner. What makes this moment truly special is that Heinsohn, in this moment, remembers what his lone loss in the Finals felt like. What a competitor.
As Laker fans and human beings that have experienced loss, I think we will all find ourselves saying “Boy does it hurt when you hear Tom Heinsohn is no longer with us.”