Baller of the Day: Dennis Johnson

» August 21, 2008 5:40 AM | By Brandon Hoffman

Dennis Johnson

Career Statistics

14.1 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 5.0 APG, 45 FG%, 17 3P%,  80 FT%

“For a guy who sat on the bench in his senior year of high school and was barely noticed by college recruiters, Dennis Johnson was an unlikely NBA hero. A born fighter who didn’t have the greatest natural skills, Johnson battled his way from mediocrity as a prep player to greatness as a pro.

During his 13-year playing career with the Seattle SuperSonics, the Phoenix Suns, and the Boston Celtics, Johnson established himself as one of the best defensive guards in the league. “D.J.” combined his bulk with rocket-launcher legs to frequently win battles against players nearly a foot taller.

His quick hands and feet made him a constant threat to strip the ball from opponents. He always seemed to be in the middle of the action. He could post up, crash the boards for rebounds and tip-ins, hit from the outside and lead the fast break. And he could pass with the best of the league’s playmakers.

Johnson was named to five All-Star teams and nine straight All-Defensive Teams. He was a member of three NBA championship squads, and his postseason heroics earned him a reputation as a money player. He was imbued with a contagious competitiveness. “I’m a winner,” he once said. “I put my heart into the game. I hate to lose. I accept it when it comes, but I still hate it. That’s the way I am.”

The glamour of NBA stardom was a long way from Johnson’s childhood in Compton, Calif. He was the eighth of 16 children, the son of a bricklayer and a social worker. Johnson’s father, who was not a great shooter, taught young Dennis the ropes of the game. (Johnson would later joke that this explained his somewhat erratic jump shot.)” [Read]

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4 Responses to “Baller of the Day: Dennis Johnson”

  1. Dennis Johnson Tribute « The Voice Of Celtics Fans Says:

    [...] Johnson Tribute has a nice little tribute to one of the most underrated players in NBA history:  Dennis Johnson Johnson was named to five [...]

  2. King_Kaun Says:

    D.J. tops nearly every list you can find of “the best player not in the hall of fame” yet most casual fans give him NO credit for his role in Boston. (or for his title with the Sonics, for that matter.)

    Whenever people talk about that Boston team, they only mention McHale, Parish, and Bird…and that drives me nuts!!!

    Off the top of your head (to anyone…) can you think of another player who was the STAR of one team (Sonics) and led them to a title – while being named Finals MVP, and then moved on to a new team with a lesser role and won two more titles?? Shaq comes to mind after winning 3 titles in L.A. as the focus, and 1 in Miami as the sidekick…but I cannot think of another…

    My point? D.J. should have been inducted into the H.O.F. years ago….

    Go D.J.!!! R.I.P.!!!

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