home login/register players heroes dennis johnson highest scoring games contact us

A Basketball Historian Tribute

DENNIS JOHNSON (Sept. 18, 1954 - Feb. 22, 2007)

Share tweet me

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 to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xus1gNLl6Zo. 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 on.”

-Oscar Robertson, New York Times, Feb. 12, 2007

 copyright © 2006 - 2014 basketballhistorian.com.
 www.baseballhistorian.com  ||  www.footballhistorian.com  ||  www.boxinghistorian.com
 www.bowlinghistorian.com  ||  Baseball Song of the Day  ||  www.crosstownclassic.com