Marques Johnson RumorsAll NBA Players
Marques Johnson rose up for a one-handed “birthday dunk” on Monday morning that had greater meaning than any other dunk during his 11-year NBA career. Starting at age 55, the five-time NBA All-Star has dunked on video on his birthday and displayed it on Twitter. But on Monday, his 65th birthday, his dunk made him reflect on his greater health and well-being. “It’s just me using it as motivation to stay in shape and express my gratitude from where I came 20 years ago,” Johnson told The Undefeated after completing his birthday dunk on Monday wearing a mask and his old NBA All-Star jersey. “I didn’t think I’d live to see 65 based on the way I was living my life and the counterproductive things I was doing. Here I am 65, healthy as a horse and still able to get off my feet and do some things. That is kind of what it is all about for me.”
You said that 20 years ago you were doing things that damaged your body. Can you expound on that? Marques Johnson: I was involved in substance abuse and all that kind of stuff. Smoking cigarettes. Drinking too much. I was doing too much of everything, really. I just got tired of living that way, and I decided to do something about it. I will be 19 years sober in April. Since that point in time, life has been as good of a life as I could’ve ever asked for. That’s a big part of it, is being grateful. I got sober at 46 after smoking almost a pack of cigarettes a day and drinking a fifth of gin every other night. I decided to go ahead and change the course.
What do you hope people remember about your NBA career? Marques Johnson: I want people to be aware that I was first-team All-NBA my second year in the league. I averaged close to 26 points a game, five to six assists per game. [Then-Bucks coach] Don Nelson asked me to rear my scoring back to 20 a game going into my third year. I feel like I could’ve been a big-time point producer. That was part of who I was and my personality as a player being efficient with the basketball. That is one thing I want people to be aware of.
Kane Pitman: Asked Giannis about passing Marques Johnson on the Bucks franchise scoring list: “Obviously it’s a great compliment passing an all-time great like Marques Johnson. Now I can go back home and tell Liam I did that tonight” Says hopefully one day he can be number one.
Marques Johnson: That was the first time that term was ever uttered. I don’t claim to be the first one who played it. There were players before me who played it a lot better than I ever did. I did it out of necessity as a last-ditch effort to relieve defensive pressure. But Johnny Johnson of Seattle did a great job. Robert Reed, when he was down in Houston, ran it. Maurice Stokes used to run that position and Rick Barry in 1975 averaged almost seven assists a game running the offense from the forward position. But I was the first one to utter the phrase “point forward”. That’s my claim to fame.
RAY: Your team had a run of great seasons but never won a championship. I think your last five seasons, the Bucks finished first in the conference. You had a great collection of players, including the ones who came in the trade for Kareem. Marques Johnson: Yeah, we had it going on. We started out green and kept growing. The only problem was that we either had to go through the Boston Celtics with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish (and later Dennis Johnson) and that crew, or the Philadelphia 76ers and Dr. J., Bobby Jones, Maurice Cheeks and Andrew Toney, aka. the Boston Strangler. The year that we were really primed to make a championship run, the Sixers had picked up Moses Malone in the offseason.