Dennis Johnson


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.

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.

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.

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.

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 was born Sept. 18, 1954, in Compton, Calif. He played at Pepperdine and was drafted by Seattle in 1976. He was traded to Phoenix in 1980 and Boston in 1983.
Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press

Guest Book

Not sure what to say?

Dennis was a dear friend at Pepperdine University. To this day I recall our little chats together. But one of the events that takes to heart is that he wanted to spar with me because I taught the Self-Defense Classes. He and two others put on the gloves and took me on (one at a time of course) and I told them they each had 2 minutes to go at me...and don't hold back! Neither one lasted 1 minute. I just covered up for a little while and watch their punches come from Chicago (Yeah I was...

What a great player Dennis was. RIP

Thank you Dennis for being in my life....

My hero growing up ... loved DJ

I was fortunate to watch Dennis play for the Sonics. I never missed a game and always got there early to watch Dennis and the team warm up. He was a great player and I could never understand why the Sonics traded such a great talent.
When he died I was depressed for days. I watched his play with Bird when he was with the Celtics. A great combination.

As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life's routine, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends.

I was always a big fan of Dennis, may be rest in peace.

I will always cherish the fond memories and beautiful friendship that I shared with you and Dennis. Although my heart saddens whenever I'm reminded of his passing, I will be forever grateful for the blessings that he graciously shared with everyone that he met. I miss you both and I hope we can reunite to celebrate his life together in the near future. Thank you for continuing his legacy. Carol Blackwell (Formally Carol (Dudley) Bradley