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Celtics play-by-play announcer Mike Gorman receives Hall of Fame’s 2021 Curt Gowdy award

Gorman will enter Hall of Fame alongside Paul Pierce.

Mike Gorman wins the 2021 Curt Gowdy award. Jim Davis/Globe Staff

NBC Sports Boston’s Celtics play-by-play announcer Mike Gorman is the 2021 recipient of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s Curt Gowdy award, which is given annually to an outstanding basketball writer or announcer.

The award was first given out in 1990 to Gowdy, the longtime Red Sox announcer who went on to do national broadcasting. The 2020 recipient is ESPN play-by-play announcer Mike Breen, who calls Knicks games for the MSG Network.

“It’s a long list,” Gorman told NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg. “The more I could think that somebody wanted to put me in that group, the harder it is to talk about it.”

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Gorman got his start at WNBH in New Bedford and WPRO radio in Providence. He has called Celtics games for 40 years, 39 of which were spent with Tommy Heinsohn. The duo became inseparable from Celtics basketball — Gorman with his understated style and picture-perfect timing, Heinsohn as a gruff, enjoyable homer with a distaste for referees and a wealth of Celtics knowledge.

Heinsohn died in November. On a recent broadcast, Gorman called this season “empty, in a lot of ways” without his longtime friend calling games.

“He’ll never be far from our minds,” Gorman told Boston.com in December. “He was bigger than life. You never heard anyone say, ‘That guy reminds me of Tommy Heinsohn.’ Nobody ever said that. … There was only one Tommy.’’

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Brad Stevens told NBC Sports Boston he is “thrilled” for Gorman.

“He has brought so much joy to Celtics fans for so many years, let alone his early stuff with the Big East and calling college games,” Stevens said. “The way that he goes about his work, the way he calls his games, the unbelievable relationship that he had with Tommy for all those years — his ability to truly impact every television set in New England is something that we’re all so appreciative for.”

Gorman is part of a class that includes Paul Pierce and Bill Russell — the former as a player, the latter as a coach. Danny Ainge congratulated Gorman, Pierce and Russell for their accomplishment on Twitter, calling them the “new Big 3.”

Gorman told NBC Sports Boston the honor hasn’t sunk in yet.

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“I thought this was beyond my reach,” he said.

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