Monday, April 15, 2024

Mike Gorman celebrates 43 years of being TV play-by-play voice of the Celtics

It was quite the Sunday afternoon at TD Garden, as the Celtics not only wrapped up their regular season with a 64-18 record following a 132-122 victory over the Washington Wizards, but they also got to honor the retiring TV play-by-play announcer Mike Gorman for his 43 years of service.

Tributes for the legendary broadcaster began from the moment he stepped into the building, as Boston Mayor -- who was also in attendance -- declared April 14th "Mike Gorman Day," in honor of the man known as The Voice of the Celtics in what was the his final regular-season call with the team.
"Mike Gorman has made an impact across generations of Celtics fans, families and visitors throughout his 40-plus years as the voice of the Boston Celtics," Wu said in a previous statement. "His passion, intellect and ability to make every fan feel special and locked in for the whole game is unmatched."
Videos played all game long of many congratulating Gorman such as former C's president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers, along with NBA on TNT analysts Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O'Neal -- among others on a Hall-of-Fame career.

In a special halftime celebration, Celtics TV color commentator Brian Scalabrine and Gorman shared an emotional conversation, which included how the Dorchester native got to be paired with his longtime broadcaster partner and basketball icon, Tommy Heinsohn for nearly four decades -- forming the longest broadcast duo in TV history for any sports team.
"So I show up, we have lunch to make it short," Gorman recalled of his first meeting with the late Celtics great. "He takes a look at the contract I had and it had the per-game fee. He crossed that out and doubled it, and put another number on top, looked at me, and said, 'Mike, how's your health insurance situation looking now?' An hour later, I walked out of that restaurant with a signed contract from Tommy Heinsohn for twice the money we wanted to offer him and a $10,000 life insurance policy. He was always closing. That opened the door for me and introduced me to the remarkable personality.
"I will get misty if I try to talk about Tommy. I think about him every day."
While Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca called Gorman "the kindest person in the organization," head coach Joe Mazzulla spoke about memories of having many chats with Gorman when traveling on road trips.
"In the back of the plane in my first couple of years, I would always walk back there. We would have certain conversations -- Just listening to his insight, listening to his wisdom," Mazzulla said in pre-game presser. "Just his humility. His ability to connect with different people. Then, just being the voice of the team. He has a distinct voice that, whether it's on TV or in person, it sounds the same amount all the time. So, I'm honored to get to know him and honored to be a part of his last few days here with the Celtics."
Also during the extended halftime ceremony, Gorman was gifted a framed commemorative championship banner and plague with his name, along with a Rolex wristwatch, and of course a piece of the parquet floor by Pagliuca and fellow team co-owner Wyc Grousbeck -- before unveiling the new Garden's TV broadcast table named after him.

Pagliuca then led the Celtics faithful with a "Got it!" chant heard around the arena, paying homage to the longest tenured play-by-play voice of any Boston professional franchise with Gorman's famous catchphrase.
"You know the song from 'Cheers' where they say you want to go where everybody knows your name?" Gorman said. "That's the way that TD Garden is for me. It's the place you go where everybody knew my name, and the relationships I've been able to develop with everybody who works in this building, that's the biggest part of it for me."
With friends and family seated on the court for the ceremony, as well as the team's front office executives, and the family of the late Tommy Heinsohn, Gorman had one last message for the current Celtics roster as they'll began their playoff run within the next several days in hopes of another championship banner to hang in his last season.
"To the team, I just want to say, go win this thing, will you, please? Just go win it."
Despite it being Gorman's final regular-season game of his illustrious career, he'll get to still be heard on the local broadcast of NBC Sports Boston during the Celtics' first-round playoff series -- which gets underway next Sunday at TD Garden. 

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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