Friday, February 23, 2007

Dennis Johnson
"It's a steal by Bird. Underneath to DJ and he lays it in." – Johnny Most
For Celtics fans who followed the great teams of the 80's - that steal by Larry Bird and lay in by Dennis Johnson is one of those moments frozen in time. I can tell you exactly where I was when that happened as could any Celtics fan worth his salt.

Similarly, you ask any Celtics fan if Dennis Johnson should have been in the Hall of Fame and the answer is a resounding "YES!" Today I sit in shock over the death of Dennis Johnson at age 52 and am saddened that the wrong of being over-looked for the Hall of Fame was not be corrected in time for DJ to enjoy it. There is solace in the fact that the Celtics knew what they had in DJ and even though he spent only 7 seasons in Boston - his number 3 will be in the rafters forever.

I don't know why Dennis Johnson didn't get more recognition nation-wide. His omission from the Hall of Fame renders the selection process a joke. The fact that he made 5 All-Star teams but only one as a Celtic stands out as just strange when you consider how valuable DJ was to those great Celtics teams. Sure back in those years you had Mo Cheeks in Philly and Isiah Thomas in Detroit but the All-Star squads routinely carried three centers - why not three point guards?

Maybe the thing that scares me about Johnson's death is the fact that he died playing pick-up basketball. Why is it that when a person dies at an early age it seems it's a 50/50 shot that the person died playing pickup basketball?

Sadly, just as I'll always remember where I was when Bird stole the ball - now I'll also remember where I was when I heard the news that Dennis Johnson was dead at age 52.

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