One of the finalists for this year's Hall of Fame induction is Dennis Johnson. It has always seemed a disgrace to me that DJ wasn't inducted into the Hall of Fame when Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish. and Joe Dumars were elected to the Hall and I would say that DJ deserved it just as much, or even more so.
The evidence was clearly there to prove that he was worthy of being in the Hall of Fame. In 1,100 games, Johnson scored 15,535 points, grabbed 4,249 rebounds and handed out 5,499 assists for career averages of 14.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game. He was known particularly for his defense (as was Dumars)and was elected to nine straight All-Defensive First and Second Teams. DJ was also known as a clutch player. He played smothering defense on Magic Johnson in the 1984 NBA Finals. He converted a last-second layup in Game 4 of the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals after Larry Bird's steal. He hit innumerable big shots throughout his career and most importantly, he won championships with two different teams, winning the 1979 NBA Finals MVP award.
DJ was a competitor and was also known for his durability. In 14 NBA seasons, he played in 1,100 of a possible 1,148 games and participated in 180 playoff games. Only 11 other players played in more. When he retired, DJ was only the 11th NBA player to amass more than 15,000 points and 5,000 assists. All that, and he was never inducted into the hall of fame.
Larry Bird called DJ the best teammate that he ever played with. That is saying a lot considering the other Celtic' legends that Larry played with. One of the biggest injustices in the NBA was that DJ been not been inducted into the Hall of Fame when his teammates and contemporaries like Joe Dumars were inducted. DJ is one of the 15 finalists for this year's induction. Maybe this year they will make up for the travesty of not having inducted him in previous years. It is a year too late for DJ to enjoy it, but he belongs there. The NBA needs to right the wrong that has gone on too long.