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DJ, R.I.P.

It’s been a tough year for the Celtics. First, Red Auerbach, the father-figure and spiritual leader of the team died. Then the C’s went on a horrible 18-game losing streak. Now, former Celtic great Dennis Johnson, one of the most underrated guards in NBA history, passed away at age 52.

If you were a basketball fan in Boston during the 80s, you probably loved seeing ol’freckle-faced DJ bringing the ball up the court. If you were a fan in Philadelphia, Detroit, or L.A., you were probably confounded by the way he harassed your guards. Either way you look at it, he was a one of the greats. But if you’re still on the fence about DJ and how good he was, consider the opinion of Larry Bird who once referred to Johnson as “the best teammate I’ve ever played with.” (Or just watch the clip, at right, from game 5 of the '87 Celtics/Pistons playoffs.)

Obituary, Boston Globe, February 22, 2007
He Always Rose to the Occasion,” Boston Globe, February 23, 2007
DJ Should Have Made Springfield While Still Alive,” ESPN.com, February 23, 2007
One Cool Customer,” SI.com, February 23, 2007
Famous clip from Game 5, Celtics/Pistons ’87 playoffs
Same sequence, from a different angle
Here is a great retrospective on Dennis Johnson's career on NBA.com

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