But former competitor Magic Johnson wonders why D.J. isn’t in already. (Via the Boston Herald)
“He’s one of the best I’ve ever played against in this game,” former Lakers star Magic Johnson said.
“He has three championships. The guy could play. He hit every big shot. I have to think there are different reasons he’s not in yet, but he has a shot.”
Magic isn’t along among current and former NBA players wondering why D.J. isn’t in the Hall yet. Bill Walton and Paul Pierce agreed.
“As we say every year, Dennis Johnson was one of the most intelligent players of his time,” Walton said.
“His teams won the games. And his teams wouldn’t have won if he was not on those teams. He’s as great a human being as I’ve ever known. It’s mind-boggling that he’s not in there yet.”
Added Pierce: “He’s the guy who has the championships. He was the MVP in Seattle. There’s no doubt in my mind that he should be in the Hall of Fame.”
And players aren’t the only ones rallying behind Johnson. WEEI’s Kirk Minihane wrote a nice column discussing the Hall of Fame merits of Johnson’s career, where even Minihane was surprised by the statistical measures in which Johnson excelled.
I have to confess that I thought I would need to play the intangible card with DJ. You know, look past the numbers, was a winner, all that stuff. But his numbers alone hold up pretty well. And there are just too many important lists that have only Hall of Famers and DJ. Can’t ignore that. Again, I’m not sure that he’s the very best player not in the Hall of Fame, but there aren’t five better. He absolutely deserves his day.
Does D.J. deserve to be in the Hall? If you ask me, most definitely. His averages don’t blow you away, but he remains one of the most respected players to ever put on a Celtics uniform. He won three NBA titles, a Finals MVP, and was named to the first- or second-team All Defense nine years in a row. Nine!
But beyond that, it was D.J.’s legacy that belongs in the Hall. Magic said D.J. was the best defensive player he ever played against. Bird called him the best player he ever played with. He earned the respect and admiration of his teammates and foes alike.
Quite simply, he was a winner. And he SHOULD be a Hall of Famer.