Thursday, February 22, 2007


Shocking to hear that former Celtics guard Dennis Johnson collapsed and died today from a heart attack. DJ was a much too young 52. In addition to being one of the most interesting-looking people in the NBA with that strange red hair and the freckles, he was also one of the most underrated players in NBA history. Sick defense, clutch offense. Won a championship in Seattle in 1979, the same year Larry Bird began his career with the Celtics. Starter on the greatest five ever assembled in the 1986 Celtics (Bird, DJ, Ainge, Parish, Walton, McHale). Five-time all-star. Three championship rings. And yet not a Hall of Famer.

As a star-struck kid following those 80's Celtics teams, DJ was a joy to watch. He always played with his chest puffed out, and his offense got better the bigger the game. It's also been great to hear some of the stories about DJ today. He had the real common-man touch. One guy told a story about how DJ was shopping in his family's store, and his Dad was a big Celtics fan so he started a conversation. Next thing you know, the guy invited DJ to come to his son's 11th birthday party and DJ showed up and had cake and ice cream. Pretty cool.

Here's hoping Red and DJ can watch over those ping-pong balls.

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