People forget why it took so long for DJ to enter the HOF ...

This 2007 Boston Globe article may refresh everyone's memory on the subject:


Johnson, who died Thursday of a heart attack at 52, had a basketball intelligence that seemed destined for a head coaching job. By most accounts, he took himself off the fast track by being arrested for grabbing his wife's throat, threatening her with a knife, and threatening one of his sons in their Orlando home in 1997.


Johnson was also much talked about as a candidate for the Basketball Hall of Fame.


"If someone is a convicted felon," Hall of Fame president Joe O'Brien said at the time, "we would eliminate them from consideration."


We never heard much about this from his wife, Donna. She did not file charges. But one must figure she was strong in the face of Johnson's fury. The police report said she told him, "What are you going to do, kill me? Go ahead."


Johnson apparently tried to kill the beast within himself. In the following years, he pleaded to anyone who would listen that he went to counseling and repeatedly apologized to his wife and family.


He told the Los Angeles Times that he "needed to correct myself." He understood how to correct the cost to himself professionally. He got on basketball's version of the warehouse forklift. He died a minor-league coach.


Johnson told the Globe's Bob Ryan in 2000, "People say, 'Why didn't she leave you?' It wasn't that simple. You've got to look at it this way: 22 years invested in a marriage vs. 10 very bad minutes. I knew the next year was going to be bad, and I knew it would be at least that long before I worked again, but I decided I'd have to face the music. I did my counseling. And I never hid. . . . I tried my best to repair the damage I did."


That still leaves Johnson -- like most human beings -- short of sainthood. But it sounds better than politicians who say they take responsibility without showing how they did. It's a lot better than O.J. Simpson, who tried to peddle the book "If I Did It" about the murder of his former wife, for which he was acquitted, and has paid only a fraction of a $33.5 million civil judgment to his former wife's family.


In a nation where nearly a quarter of women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, experience violence from an intimate partner sometime in their lives, it is important if Johnson did turn his 10 bad minutes into nearly 10 more years of a healthier marriage before his death. He never made the Hall of Fame. But NBA commissioner David Stern Thursday hailed Johnson as "a man of extraordinary character."


Only Donna Johnson knows for sure. If she agrees with Stern, it is because her husband kept coming to the game.

FanPosts are fan-created content and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of CelticsBlog. Be respectful and keep it clean. Thanks.

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join CelticsBlog

You must be a member of CelticsBlog to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at CelticsBlog. You should read them.

Join CelticsBlog

You must be a member of CelticsBlog to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at CelticsBlog. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.