Thursday, February 22, 2007

When NBA All-Stars Had Class

The Mr. October of basketball passes away at age 52:

Dennis Johnson, a three-time NBA champion as a member of the Seattle Supersonics and Boston Celtics and the head coach of the D-League's Austin Toros, passed away today from a heart attack. He was 52 years old.

....Johnson was named to five All-Star teams and nine straight All-Defensive Teams. He was a member of three NBA championship squads, and his postseason heroics earned him a reputation as a money player. He was imbued with a contagious competitiveness. "I'm a winner," he once said. "I put my heart into the game. I hate to lose. I accept it when it comes, but I still hate it. That's the way I am."

....Johnson retired at age 35 after the 1989-90 season as the 11th player in NBA history to amass more than 15,000 points and 5,000 assists. In Sports Illustrated, teammate [Larry] Bird, who was not known for lightly tossing around compliments, called Johnson "the best I've ever played with."

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