||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (June 2011)|
February 4, 1929|
|Died||September 28, 1978
|Listed height||6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)|
|Listed weight||210 lb (95 kg)|
|High school||Chillicothe (Chillocothe, Ohio)|
|College||Ohio State (1946–1948)|
|Pro playing career||1951–1959|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
|Basketball Hall of Fame as player|
Donald Neil Johnston (February 4, 1929 – September 28, 1978) was an American Hall of Fame basketball player at the center position who played eight years in the National Basketball Association (NBA), from 1951 to 1959.
Johnston attended Ohio State University, where he starred in baseball and basketball. Johnston signed a professional baseball contract with the Philadelphia Phillies out of college and pitched two and a half years for the Terre Haute Phillies of the Three-I League. With a 3–9 record halfway through his third losing season in 1951, Johnston decided to give pro basketball a try. With his manager, Jim Ward's assistance, he tried out for the Warriors at the team camp in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Johnston led the NBA in scoring for three consecutive seasons: 1952–53, 1953–54, and 1954–55. During the 1954–55 season, he also won the league's rebounding title. Johnston played his entire career with the Philadelphia Warriors, playing on their championship team in 1956. He played in six NBA All-Star Games, was an All-NBA First Team selection four times, and was an All-NBA Second Team selection once.
During his career, the 6 foot 8 inch Johnston was well known for his right-handed hook shot, which contributed to his leading the league in field goal shooting three times. Johnston was forced to retire after a serious knee injury in the 1958–59 season.
After his playing career, Johnston coached the Warriors to a 95–59 winning record for the first two seasons of Wilt Chamberlain's NBA career. He also worked as an assistant coach at Wake Forest University under Jack McCloskey.
On September 28, 1978, Johnston died of a heart attack.
He was enshrined posthumously in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1990, 31 years after his retirement.
- List of individual National Basketball Association scoring leaders by season
- List of National Basketball Association season minutes leaders
- Alex Sachare, 100 Greatest Basketball Players of all Time (1997) ISBN 0-671-01168-5
- Neil Johnston at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
- Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame profile
- Neil Johnston statistics on Basketball-Reference (as a player)
- Neil Johnston statistics on Basketball-Reference (as a coach)
- Neil Johnston at Find a Grave