Dennis Johnson was one of the more interesting NBA talents to ever pass through the league.
Like Bill Russell and Dennis Rodman, he was a late bloomer, He grew late and got an offer from Los Angeles Harbor College. He had a tumultuous time there before transferring to Pepperdine.
He jumped to the league after one year there but his reputation for being difficult may have cost him a few spots in the 1976 draft.
He went to Seattle in the second round and became a key player on the 1979 championship team, winning the Finals MVP.
But the team got frustrated with Johnson, who was again proving difficult, and traded him to Phoenix in 1980.
The Suns helped Johnson become an outstanding scoring guard but as we had seen before, Phoenix eventually had enough of Johnson and traded him to Boston, which thrilled him. And that’s where Johnson achieved true greatness.
He was asked to play point guard and became a perfect fit. Larry Bird later called him the best teammate he ever had.
It took Johnson a while to find his niche, but now he’s remembered as a great point guard and defender.
Sadly, Johnson died young, suffering a heart attack in 2007. Three years later, he was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame.