Celebrating 43 years of Mike Gorman, the legendary voice of the Boston Celtics

Detroit Pistons v Boston Celtics
Detroit Pistons v Boston Celtics / Omar Rawlings/GettyImages

On April 14 – the day of the Celtics’ regular season finale – the city of Boston came together to celebrate a much more important finale: the final regular season game of Mike Gorman’s illustrious career. 

The legendary announcer joined the Celtics family back in 1981 and spent 43 years building his legacy as one of the greatest play-by-play commentators ever. Gorman served as the voice of the Celtics during five different decades (from the 1980s to the 2020s), witnessing three Boston championships and a plethora of Hall of Fame talents who sported Celtic green.

From the Larry Bird era to the Paul Pierce era, Gorman remained a beloved constant for C’s fans. The Dorchester native provided an engaging backdrop for some truly excellent basketball teams, cementing himself as a huge part of the Celtics experience for many fans. The 2023-24 Celtics gave the all-time great a poetic sendoff with the team’s best regular season since the 2008 title team won 66 games.

While most NBA fans associate Boston’s 2008 squad with legends like Pierce and Kevin Garnett, Celtics fans also remember what Gorman meant to that title team. Gorman and the late legend Tommy Heinsohn left a lasting memory for many C’s fans when they embraced Pierce with celebratory hugs and handshakes before interviewing him.

Gorman had most of TD Garden in tears last Sunday afternoon when he spoke about Heinsohn at his halftime ceremony. Gorman himself could not hold back his emotions as he recalled fond memories of his beloved friend.

"I will get misty if I try to talk about Tom. I think of him every day."

Mike Gorman

Heinsohn was Gorman’s partner-in-crime. The dynamic duo worked side by side as the Celtics’ broadcast team for 39 years until Heinsohn passed away in 2020. 

Heinsohn won eight rings in nine seasons as a Hall-of-Fame forward for the Celtics. He also won two more as Boston’s head coach in 1974 and 1976. He is in the Hall of Fame as a player and a coach.

In his halftime speech, Gorman recounted a classic story from early in his partnership with Heinsohn. Heinsohn took a set of pregame notes Gorman had prepared for one of their first games together, and he promptly crumpled them up. He told Gorman, “we don’t need notes, we’re gonna talk about what we see out there.” Those words stuck with Gorman for the rest of his career, leaving a huge imprint on his style as a broadcaster. 

Gorman and Heinsohn resonated with Boston fans for four decades through their love and passion for the Celtics. Their relationship meant so much to the entire organization and the people they touched along the way.

Boston showered Gorman with love on his big day in more ways than one. Mayor Michelle Wu officially declared April 14 as Mike Gorman Day in Boston. The Celtics also officially named TD Garden’s broadcast table the Mike Gorman Broadcast Table in honor of the legendary commentator.

Current Celtics players also showed love to Gorman during his regular-season swan song. Many Celtics, including Jayson Tatum, stood and gave Gorman their applause during timeouts and tribute videos.

As he approaches retirement, Gorman can look back on an illustrious career littered with amazing accomplishments. Gorman was inducted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame in 2021, as well as the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2004. He also won five Emmy awards throughout his career.

Despite these accolades, Gorman remains one of the kindest and most humble humans to grace the Boston parquet. Mike Breen said it best in a tribute video TD Garden put together using kind words from broadcasters around the league.

"Thank you for being a role model for me and for so many of us. Not just a role model because of your skill and talent … but as who you are as a man. One of the true blessings in my life is being able to tell people Mike Gorman is my friend."

Mike Breen

Fans will never forget Gorman’s most iconic calls, often associated with legendary moments in Celtics history. From his epic commentary on Bird’s steal and assist against the 1987 Pistons to his commentary on Pierce’s trash-talk with Al Harrington in the 2003 playoffs, Gorman will leave Celtics fans with countless plays to remember him by.

Here are some of Gorman’s best moments from over the years:

At Gorman’s halftime ceremony, all of TD Garden shouted “Got It” to honor him with his trademark phrase. The Celtics even gave Gorman a parting gift with a convincing team win in his final regular-season game.

Gorman gave the Celtics a simple message with his last words of the ceremony.

"To the team, I just want to say … Go win this thing. Just go win it."

Mike Gorman

Thankfully, fans will get to experience Gorman’s greatness for a little bit longer. He will cover one last playoff series for the Celtics in the first round. 

As his last regular-season broadcast came to a close, Gorman left Celtics fans with this:

"It was mind-blowing for me to have an experience like this, and I can’t say enough about the Boston Celtics … Usually when you retire, somebody gives you an old watch or something and you disappear into the woodwork, and that isn’t the case at all. Thank you, Boston. Thank you, Celtics. We’ll see you for the playoffs."

Mike Gorman