Dennis Wayne Johnson (September 18, 1954 – February 22, 2007), nicknamed “DJ”, was an American professional basketball player for the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Seattle SuperSonics, Phoenix Suns and Boston Celtics and coach of the Los Angeles Clippers. He was an alumnus of Dominguez High School, Los Angeles Harbor College and Pepperdine University.
A prototypical late bloomer, Johnson overcame early struggles and had a successful NBA playing career. Drafted 29th overall in 1976 by the Seattle SuperSonics, Johnson began his professional career as a shooting guard. He eventually led the Sonics to their only NBA championship in 1979, winning the Finals MVP Award. After a short stint with the Phoenix Suns, he became the starting point guard for the Boston Celtics, with whom he won two more championships. Johnson was voted into five All-Star Teams, one All-NBA First and one Second Team, and nine consecutive All-Defensive First and Second Teams. Apart from his reputation as a defensive stopper, Johnson was known as a clutch player who made several decisive plays in NBA playoffs history.
The Celtics franchise has retired Johnson’s #3 jersey, which hangs from the rafters of the TD Garden, the home arena of the team. On April 5, 2010, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame officially announced that Johnson had been posthumously elected to the Hall. He was formally inducted on August 13. He is considered by several sports journalists to be one of the most underrated players of all time.
The NBA D-League Coach of the Year award is named after Johnson.
Career highlights and awards
3× NBA champion (1979, 1984, 1986)
NBA Finals MVP (1979)
5× NBA All-Star (1979–1982, 1985)
All-NBA First Team (1981)
All-NBA Second Team (1980)
6× NBA All-Defensive First Team (1979–1983, 1987)
3× NBA All-Defensive Second Team (1984–1986)
No. 3 retired by the Boston Celtics