Widely considered the best defensive guard of
his era (if not all-time), Dennis Johnson died of a heart attack
after coaching a practice of the Austin Toros of the NBA Development
League on February 22, 2007. Dennis "D.J." Johnson played in 14
NBA seasons with the Sonics, Suns, and Celtics. Johnson played on
5 All-Star teams, was named to the NBA All-Defensive Team nine consecutive
times from 1979-87, and won Championships with the Sonics in 1979
and the Celtics in 1984 and 1986. When the Celtics retired his jersey
at the Boston Garden on December 3, 1991, Magic Johnson described
him as "the best backcourt defender of all time."
An iron man who never missed more
than 10 games in any season, Johnson was that rare player
who stepped up his game come playoff time. His career
averages of 14.1 points/game, 5.0 assists/game, and
3.9 rebounds/game increased during playoff competition
to 17.3 points/game, 5.6 assists/game, and 4.3 rebounds
per game. He took his teams' toughest defensive assignments,
insisting on guarding Magic Johnson during the Celtics
victory in the 1984 Finals over the Lakers. Yet, he
also scored when needed, averaging 22.6 points/game
in the 1979 Finals and leading the Sonics with 32 points
in their game 4 victory over the Bullets. He saved the
Sonics' game 4 victory by blocking the Bullets' Kevin
Grevey's final shot in overtime, one of his 14 blocked
shots in the series. See the video on this page or browse
His stellar play-on both ends of the court-earned him
the Finals MVP award that year.
Larry Bird called D.J. "the best I've
ever played with," and finally in 2010 the Basketball Hall
of Fame will announce that Dennis Johnson will be a part of the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Read the story here.
Congratulations for finally recognizing this defensive wizard and all around fantastic player.
“We live in a fast society. We don’t
remember anything over 10 years old. . . . The NBA should have
some reading that’s mandatory to find out what’s going