Celtics fondly recall Johnson

first_imgGARDENA – Four months after the death of team patriarch Red Auerbach, Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Danny Ainge reunited in grief Friday to say good-bye to former Boston Celtics teammate Dennis Johnson. The trio of Celtics joined about 1,000 mourners who shared tears and laughter during Johnson’s 1 -hour funeral. “D.J. was a huge part of championship teams and was a guy that everybody liked,” McHale said. “He was a fun guy, and he had a personality that fit with us because we had a bunch of guys who enjoyed each other.” Johnson, who was coaching the Austin Toros of the NBA’s Development League, died of an apparent heart attack after practice last month. He was 52. “He was a great basketball player, a guy that was dedicated to the game, and he showed that by staying in it and going to the minor leagues to coach and try to move his way up,” Bird said. “It’s unfortunate because he had a lot of life left in him, but it’s just something that happened that we have no control over. He left a great legacy behind.” Several Toros players served as pallbearers for Johnson, a Compton native who was buried in Rancho Palos Verdes. Among the mourners at City of Refuge Church were former Lakers Michael Cooper and Norm Nixon, Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy and Phoenix Suns assistant Alvin Gentry, whom Johnson replaced as Clippers coach for the final 24 games of the 2002-03 season. Johnson was traded to the Celtics in 1983 and helped them win NBA titles in 1984 and ’86. he also helped Seattle to its only league championship. center_img “I was the one who benefited the most from D.J. coming to our team,” Ainge said. “I slept a lot better at night, knowing I wouldn’t have to be guarding Andrew Toney, Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan.” Johnson spent four seasons as a Celtics assistant. A second-round pick from Pepperdine, MIAMI – Dwyane Wade had his dislocated left shoulder examined by specialist Dr. James Andrews, and Miami Heat coach Pat Riley said there’s no rush for a decision on whether season-ending surgery or rehabilitation is the best treatment. “It doesn’t make any difference,” Riley said. “We know he’s gone – four weeks, six weeks, the rest of the year.” There’s a chance Wade could return for the playoffs if he decides on rehabilitation. He sought a second opinion from Andrews after being examined earlier by team physician Dr. Harlan Selesnick. MINNEAPOLIS – The Utah Jazz waived veteran forward Alan Henderson, eight days after it acquired him in a trade with Philadelphia. The move was expected. Henderson never appeared in a game with the Jazz. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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