During Kevin Johnson’s five decades on Earth he has amassed a nice list of highlights, not only on the NBA hardwood, but off of it as well. Born in Sacramento, California he grew up in a tough part of town but that didn’t stop him from becoming a standout athlete.
Not only did KJ excel in basketball, but baseball as well, which helped him get a scholarship to the University of Berkeley. While there he was drafted by the Oakland Athletics during the 1986 MLB draft but realized that basketball was where he would succeed. He would go on to help Cal become a successful basketball program and even had his number retired by his college.
The dynamic guard would be drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the number seven pick in the 1987 draft. He would not get the minutes though as he played backup to Mark Price. Luckily he was traded to the Phoenix Suns after only a few months in the league and his long career for the team started. Finishing the season, he won the Rookie of the Month award that helped build momentum going into his sophomore year.
Shortly thereafter, his play excelled and the team began to grow into a formidable opponent in the Western Conference. And although he would be loyal to the Suns throughout his career, his sneaker deals were far less consistent. He would be seen in FILA during his early years, but really was known for his years at Converse with the Run ‘N Slam lineup. However, we can’t forget his time with Nike as well.
Through his career KJ would never miss the Playoffs beyond his rookie season. He would win the NBA Most Improved Player award, become a three-time All-Star, win a FIBA World Championship, and help lead his team to a NBA Final berth. His jersey would be retired by both Berkeley and Phoenix along with being a potential Hall of Famer. But after his NBA career he has continued to stay busy. He earned his college diploma, became the mayor of his hometown, and saved the Sacramento Kings from leaving. As he celebrates a big birthday, we wonder what KJ has planned next.