February 22, 2007

Former Celtics guard Dennis Johnson dies at 52: Detailed information is still a little sketchy. Another news source quotes a compassionate and articulate coroner; "He is deceased and is in our building. He will be autopsied," said Mayra Freeman, a spokeswoman for the Travis County Medical Examiner's Office.

posted by irunfromclones to basketball at 03:35 PM - 19 comments


posted by jaclp at 04:50 PM on February 22, 2007

DJ is dead? OMG!!! I feel so old and sad. Even though I've never been a Celtics fan,he was unforgetable at the Garden the night my Pistons when down. Detroit ha d the ball and the lead.All Isaiah Thomas had to do was safely inbound the ball.Instead Bird intecepted,flipped to DJ and he scored just ahead of the buzzer,game over!

posted by sickleguy at 04:59 PM on February 22, 2007

No!!! Sickleguy, those were my Celtics beating your Pistons. I watched that game in the 6th grade!! He was so good. Well, I suppose we all must one day.

posted by bavarianmotorworker at 05:09 PM on February 22, 2007

He was tough as nails on the court, a true class act off the court. Rest in peace, DJ.

posted by wdminott at 05:57 PM on February 22, 2007

No less a player than Larry Bird says that D.J. was the best player he ever played with. Dennis Johnson was someone I enjoyed watching on the basketball court, and so far as I know, never embarrassed himself off the court. R.I.P. D.J.

posted by tommybiden at 06:36 PM on February 22, 2007

Wow. That's too bad. He was a great player on a great team. RIP.

posted by dyams at 06:37 PM on February 22, 2007

Oh my, sad indeed, but for all you guys who remember him as a Celtic, you need to back up a few years. He was a star in the backcourt with the Sonics, got us to two NBA Finals against the Bullets, winning in 1979. He was a shut down defender and a great backcourt player along with Gus Williams. Little known trivia, the Sonics in 1980 had Dennis Johnson, John Johnson, and Vinnie Johnson all on the same team. I believe we sent him to Phoenix in exchange for Paul Westphal. RIP DJ.

posted by vito90 at 07:12 PM on February 22, 2007


posted by jerseygirl at 08:05 PM on February 22, 2007

Aw, that sucks. I really liked Dennis Johnson. Man - this is one tough year for Celtics fans.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:48 PM on February 22, 2007

I was lucky enough to have dinner and drinks after a Bullets game with DJ, Bird and McHale. Dennis was a class act. Humble, entertaining and a great person in the few hours I got to spend with him. Condolences to his family and friends.

posted by urall cloolis at 10:08 PM on February 22, 2007

Damn. Damn damn damn. DJ was a hell of a player, and I'm happy he got his chance at glory with one of my favorite squads of all time. On a team of (relatively) quiet stars, he stood out for his unselfishness and class. I hate being this age. All the people I watched as a kid are going, and it forces me to face my own impending mortality. Stupid death.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 07:03 AM on February 23, 2007

DJ remembered.

posted by yerfatma at 08:02 AM on February 23, 2007

I miss DJ already; he was one of my childhood heroes. The Sports Guy comes out of his reality-TV-Santa-Monica coma to deliver a very good remembrance.

posted by Venicemenace at 08:18 AM on February 23, 2007

It's funny, I NEVER would have thought DJ was a HOF candidate until I read Simmon's piece, thanks for linking it Venicemenance.

posted by vito90 at 10:06 AM on February 23, 2007

A couple of the local talking heads on the late-night sports talk show last night in Boston challenged each other to name something that DJ could not do well on a basketball court. The obvious answer was 'nothing'. DJ may have been the most complete guard I have ever seen. He was a typical player of the days when you were either a forward, guard, or center. Point, shooter, defender didn't matter. You played basketball. That was DJ's game, and we loved it. I guess there's a pickup game going on right now somewhere above us.

posted by Howard_T at 10:16 AM on February 23, 2007

Gosh, he and Robert Parrish made me like the Celtics. I loved watching DJ play. R.I.P.

posted by yzelda4045 at 11:26 AM on February 23, 2007

Also -- re-watch one of the great plays of all time. Bird's steal was amazing, but DJ's layup was probably even more amazing. If you have some time on the court in the near future, you might try to duplicate this play. It's damned hard even if Joe Dumars isn't covering you.

posted by Venicemenace at 11:37 AM on February 23, 2007

Meh, Dumars doesn't get around like he used to. Especially if you set him up with a few hard picks early on.

posted by yerfatma at 01:40 PM on February 23, 2007

Just another thing to make me feel older. DJ wasn't the flashiest of players (those celtics weren't the flashiest of teams) but other than bird there wasn't a player that I had more confidence. In regards to the sports guy, not a bad article, but of course he takes it a little too far. Watching the video, DJ has the play right in front of him. His cut to the basket is at the same time bird's steal is unfolding. Heads up play, but not the 'only dennis and god would have reacted so quickly' reaction that simmons claims.

posted by justgary at 07:38 PM on February 26, 2007

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