When we were kids, my brother and I kept photos of Dennis Johnson--along with pictures of Fred Brown, Gus Williams, Jack Sikma, John Johnson, Joe Hassert, Wally Walker and Al Fleming--taped to the downstairs rec room walls. (The photos of Marvin Webster came down after he was traded.) When the neighborhood kids played basketball, everyone wanted to "be" DJ. Thoughts and prayers to his family.
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."Link: