Dennis Johnson Elected to Hoops Hall of Fame
MALIBU, Calif. - The late Dennis Johnson, a one-time Pepperdine standout and former NBA great, received basketball's highest honor on Monday when it was announced that he has been elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
The Class of 2010 - which also includes Jerry Buss, Cynthia Cooper, Bob Hurley Sr., Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen, Gus Johnson, Maciel "Ubiratan" Pereira and the 1960 and 1992 USA Olympic basketball teams - will be inducted on August 13 in Springfield, Mass.
Johnson spent two years at Harbor Junior College before transferring to Pepperdine for the 1975-76 school year, and as a starting guard he helped lead the Waves to one of their most successful seasons in school history. As a junior, he was second on the team with 15.7 points while also averaging 5.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists and was named to the All-West Coast Athletic Conference first team. He helped Pepperdine to a 22-6 record, first place in the WCAC and a spot in the NCAA Tournament. The Waves defeated Memphis in the first round before losing to UCLA in the regional semifinals. Pepperdine ranked #20 in the final Associated Press poll that year.
He bypassed his senior year to turn professional, and was drafted by the Seattle Supersonics in the second round of the 1976 NBA Draft (29th overall). He played with Seattle for four seasons (1977-80) and was the MVP of the 1979 NBA Finals as the Sonics won the championship. He went on to play with the Phoenix Suns for three seasons (1981-83) and is probably best remembered for his seven-season tenure with the Boston Celtics (1984-90). He won two more NBA titles with the Celtics (1984 and 1986) as the starting point guard.
Johnson was voted onto five All-Star teams, and made one All-NBA first team (1981) and one All-NBA second team (1980). Known as one of the league's top defensive stoppers, he was selected to nine consecutive All-Defensive first or second teams from 1979-87.
In 1,100 games over his 14-year career, Johnson scored 15,535 points, grabbed 4,249 rebounds and passed out 5,499 assists, equating to career averages of 14.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game. At his retirement, Johnson was only the 11th NBA player to amass more than 15,000 points and 5,000 assists.
The Celtics would retire his #3 jersey in 1991. At one time, Larry Bird called Johnson the best teammate he ever had.
Johnson went into coaching after his playing days and at one point served as the interim head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers. He was the head coach of the Austin Toros in the NBA Development League when he passed away on February 22, 2007, at the age of 52.
Johnson was inducted into the Pepperdine Athletics Hall of Fame in 1981.
More information on the enshrinement ceremony can be found at www.hoophall.com.