Author Topic: Dennis Johnson (of Celtic's fame) dead at 52  (Read 2188 times)

Offline The Dark Wright

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Dennis Johnson (of Celtic's fame) dead at 52
« on: February 22, 2007, 04:03:42 pm »
AP - Feb 22, 5:23 pm EST
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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Dennis Johnson, the star NBA guard who was part of three championships and teamed with Larry Bird on one of the great postseason plays, died Thursday after collapsing at the end of his developmental team's practice. He was 52.

Johnson, coach of the Austin Toros, was unconscious and in cardiac arrest when paramedics arrived at Austin Convention Center, said Warren Hassinger, spokesman for Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services.

Paramedics tried to resuscitate him for 23 minutes before he was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead, Hassinger added. Mayra Freeman, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner's office, said there will be an autopsy.

The Toros postponed home games Friday and Saturday nights, the NBA Development League said.

"He was one of the most underrated players in the history of the game, in my opinion, and one of the greatest Celtic acquisitions of all time," said former Boston teammate Danny Ainge, now the Celtics' executive director of basketball operations.
 
"D.J. was a free spirit and a fun personality who loved to laugh and play the game. We had spoken at length just the other night about basketball and his excitement about coaching the Austin Toros. "

Johnson, a five-time All-Star and one of the top defensive guards, was part of the last Boston dynasty. He spent 14 seasons in the league and retired after the 1989-90 season. He played on title teams with the Celtics in 1984 and 1986 and with the Seattle SuperSonics in 1979, when he was the NBA finals MVP.

"Whether he was leading his teams to NBA championships or teaching young men the meaning of professionalism, Dennis Johnson's contributions to the game went far beyond the basketball court," NBA commissioner David Stern said. "Dennis was a man of extraordinary character with a tremendous passion for the game."

Johnson was a favorite teammate of Bird's, and the two were part of one of the most memorable plays in Celtics history.

During the fifth game of the 1987 Eastern Conference finals against Detroit, Bird stole Isiah Thomas' inbounds pass under Boston's basket and fed Johnson, who drove in for the winning layup. Boston won the series in seven games but lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA finals.

"Dennis was a great player, one of the best teammates I ever had, and a wonderful person," said Bird, now president of the Indiana Pacers. "My thoughts and condolences are with his family at this difficult time."

Bill Laimbeer, the center on that Pistons team, remembered Johnson as a "great player on a great ballclub."

"He played with passion and grit," Laimbeer said. "It was fun to play games like that. You always enjoyed it. It made for not only great games, but great entertainment."

In the 1984 finals, Johnson guarded Magic Johnson effectively in the last four games. In 1985, he hit a last-second jumper against Los Angeles that won the fourth game. In 1986, he was part of a team that featured four Hall of Famers -- Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish and Bill Walton.

"He was truly one of the good guys to play in the NBA, and he was a great teammate who was fun to be around," McHale said.

Johnson had a reputation for delivering in big games.

"I hate to lose," he once said. "I accept it when it comes, but I still hate it. That's the way I am."

He averaged 14.1 points and 5.0 assists for his career. When he retired, he was the 11th player in NBA history to total 15,000 points and 5,000 assists. Johnson made one all-NBA first team and one second team. Six times he made the all-defensive first team, including five consecutive seasons (1979-83).

Johnson was born Sept. 18, 1954, in Compton, Calif. He played at Pepperdine and was drafted by Seattle in 1976. Johnson was traded to Phoenix in 1980 and Boston in 1983.

He is survived by his wife, Donna, sons Dwayne and Daniel, and a daughter, Denise.

I used to watch him play.  He looked just my dad's childhood friend (fair skinned, afro, and freckles). 

 R.I.P. brother Johnson.

 
 

Offline zulu801

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Re: Dennis Johnson (of Celtic's fame) dead at 52
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2007, 05:51:30 pm »
AWWWW MANNNNNN.  I am crush to hear this about DJ.  I had a love / hate thing w/ DJ.  I love him as a player bcuz he had madd skills but I hated him cuz he played for Boston, always played better than my boy Mo Cheeks (76ers) when they went head to head.  DJ was more than a Celtic great he was a true sportsman.  RIP   :'( :'(

Offline Curtis Metcalf

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Re: Dennis Johnson (of Celtic's fame) dead at 52
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2007, 07:53:21 pm »
I feel the same way about DJ.  But I also remember him as a Supersonic when he could fly.  Him and Gus Johnson were the best backcourt tandem in the league.  DJ would throw your stuff in a heartbeat if you came weak and it didn't matter that he was a guard.  I always liked defense and he was one of my favorite players until he got traded to the Celtics.  I always respected him though.
"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
"Be hard on systems, but soft on people."

Offline zulu801

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Re: Dennis Johnson (of Celtic's fame) dead at 52
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2007, 04:39:19 am »
I feel the same way about DJ.  But I also remember him as a Supersonic when he could fly.  Him and Gus Johnson were the best backcourt tandem in the league.  DJ would throw your stuff in a heartbeat if you came weak and it didn't matter that he was a guard.  I always liked defense and he was one of my favorite players until he got traded to the Celtics.  I always respected him though.

DJ, was one of the most underrated NBA player in history.  Has been retired for awhile and has not been elected into HOF.  Curtis you hit it on the nail about his play w/ the sonics.  not only he and Gus Johnson was the best starting gurads in the league, they also had jack skima and my man six-man player from 3pt land "downtown freddie brown"  damn.... back down memory lane

it was some drama going on between DJ and lenny wikens (yep our brah lenny) and other members on the team that got DJ traded to the suns.  As a shorty on Fri nites at 10:30pm it was NBA on CBS and you caught a lot of west coast games in the chi.  this was my way of seeing DJ playing alot in the beginnng B4 his glory days in Boston

Offline Curtis Metcalf

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The Sports Guy on DJ
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2007, 10:18:09 am »
I knew he'd come through with a column for DJ.  Here it is.
"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
"Be hard on systems, but soft on people."