LEGEND INTERVIEW April
5, 2001 - - - - -
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SPORTS INTERVIEW with Celtics
legend Dennis Johnson By
there's a steal by Bird, underneath to D.J., lays it up and in!"
Johnson is currently an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Clippers.
He was the point guard of the championship 80's Celtics teams. We recently
met up with D.J. and discussed the good old days.
Lenchiner: What are your fondest memories of being a Celtic?
Oh, Jesus, with them guys you could pick almost anything. The best though
is when we're going to practice, and, our practice team could have been
our starting unit at any point, and make no mistake about it, they really
could have. So, my fondest memories of the team, is that every day we went
to practice, it was almost better than our game, it was probably 90% better
than our games that we played, because when we got ready after practice,
and we had to go out on the floor to play, we were always ready, and the
other [practice] team made sure of that.
And what was it like playing against the lakers, what kind of things
went through your mind...
Johnson: That was geared up in training camp, even though we weren't
going to see them for six months. You pick up the paper, you look, you
see who they got on their roster, you say, "ok, ok, he'll be there, he'll
be there, he'll be there, yeah we can't wait till we get there..." and
I guarantee you they did the same thing. A lot of people will tell you
that they didn't, but if you sit down one on one with them and you ask
them they'll tell you, "oh, yeah..." they looked at the paper, when
we got ready to get there we always made sure we got out here (Los Angeles)
two days earlier than the game so we were rested... but we made sure of
that and we got ahead so we were rested, so we knew when we threw that
ball up, we were ready to go. It was kinda like them coming to us, they
knew they were gonna be disliked a lot, and we knew we were gonna be disliked
out here, but that just fueled the fire a lot more.
Tell me what was special about Larry [Bird] in practice that not everyone
Johnson: I don't even know if it was special, I think, he practiced
the way he played. And when you say that to people, you honestly got to
know the way he played, because the way he played, is the exact way...
I mean if the ball was rolling down there it didn't matter if we were in
practice, you could guarantee he was gonna take five more steps and dive
for it, and that you wouldn't see from anybody. He honestly practiced the
way he played, and played the way he practiced, and would never sit out
a practice whether he was hurting or not, because I think he always felt
that it was his example, that, if he was gonna fight through this, whether
it was a cold, whether it was a hurt back, whether it was a sore leg, or
anything, then everybody else should be out there. He was never a man of
many words, everything he did was action.