Marques Johnson

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Marques Johnson
Marques johnson ucla.JPG
Johnson with UCLA in 1976–77
Personal information
Born (1956-02-08) February 8, 1956 (age 65)
Natchitoches, Louisiana
Listed height6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)
Listed weight218 lb (99 kg)
Career information
High schoolCrenshaw (Los Angeles, California)
CollegeUCLA (1973–1977)
NBA draft1977 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3rd overall
Selected by the Milwaukee Bucks
Playing career1977–1990
PositionSmall forward
Career history
19771984Milwaukee Bucks
19841987Los Angeles Clippers
1989Golden State Warriors
1989–1990Fantoni Udine
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points13,892 (20.1 ppg)
Rebounds4,817 (7.0 rpg)
Assists2,502 (3.6 apg)
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at
Stats at
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2013

Marques Kevin Johnson (born February 8, 1956) is an American former professional basketball player who is a basketball analyst for the Milwaukee Bucks on Fox Sports Net. He played as a small forward in the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1977 to 1989, where he was a five-time All-Star. He played the majority of his career with the Bucks.

Johnson was a Los Angeles City Section player of the year in high school before attending the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He played college basketball for the UCLA Bruins and won a national championship in 1975. In his senior year, he won multiple national player of the year awards. Johnson was the third overall pick in the 1977 NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. He played seven seasons with Milwaukee before finishing his NBA career with the Los Angeles Clippers and the Golden State Warriors.

Early life[edit]

Johnson was born in Natchitoches, Louisiana and raised in South Los Angeles, where he played high school basketball at Crenshaw High School in Crenshaw, Los Angeles, winning the Los Angeles City Section 4-A Division Player of the Year in 1973.[1]

College career[edit]

He later attended UCLA, and became an All-American player on its basketball teams, under Coach John Wooden and coach Gene Bartow.

In his sophomore season in 1974–75, Johnson helped to lead the Bruins to Coach John Wooden's 10th and final NCAA Men's Division I basketball championship. Wooden retired from coaching after the season, and Gene Bartow became the head coach. Johnson continued to excel, averaging 21.1 points and 11.1 rebounds per game in his senior season and won the inaugural John R. Wooden Award in addition to the USBWA College Player of the Year as the nation's top collegiate basketball player. Johnson also majored in Theater Arts at UCLA.[2]

Professional career[edit]

Milwaukee Bucks (1977–1984)[edit]

Johnson was selected third overall in the 1977 NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, coached by Don Nelson. Johnson helped lead Milwaukee to several division titles (1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984).

In his second season in 1978–79, he was the NBA's third leading scorer (25.6 PPG), behind George Gervin (29.6) and Lloyd Free (28.8).

On February 27, 1980, Johnson recorded a triple double with 25 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists in a 119-110 victory against the Phoenix Suns.[3]

On November 2, 1980, Johnson scored 40 points, along with 7 rebounds and 7 assists, to lead the Bucks to a 135-121 victory against the Indiana Pacers. The feat was especially impressive as key teammates Junior Bridgeman and Sidney Moncrief were limited with injuries.[4]

On May 2, 1983, in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Johnson scored 33 points and grabbed 9 rebounds to lead the Bucks to a 4-0 sweep of Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics.[5] Despite this, the Bucks would fall to the eventual champion Philadelphia 76ers, led by NBA MVP Moses Malone, during the next round in 5 games, in what were contested matchups.[6] It was the only series Philadelphia did not win in 4 games that postseason.

Johnson claims to have coined the term point forward, a position he played out of necessity in 1984. During the 1984 playoffs, Milwaukee became short on point guards due to injuries. Nelson instructed Johnson to set up the offense from his forward position. Johnson responded, "OK, so instead of a point guard, I'm a point forward".[7] Johnson and the Bucks reached as far as the Eastern Conference Finals twice, in 1983 and again in 1984.

While on the Bucks, both Johnson and teammate Mickey Johnson were the first two players in NBA history to have their full first and last names displayed on their jerseys, as they both shared the same first initial and last name.[8]

When asked about his favorite experience on the Bucks upon the announcement of his jersey being retired in 2019, Johnson said “It was a compilation of everything. It was getting there in 1977, 21 years old out of L.A., stars in my eyes, and thoughts of being a great NBA player was my goal. And winning a championship in Milwaukee. But what happened was, I come to Milwaukee, and we’ve got this nucleus of just great young talent from all sorts of solid programs: myself and Dave Meyers from UCLA; and Junior Bridgeman from Louisville; Quinn Buckner, who we lost to twice in ’76 on that great Indiana team with Kent Benson; Brian Winters from South Carolina. So this great youth movement in Milwaukee with an opportunity to build and grow together.”[9]

Los Angeles Clippers (1984–1987)[edit]

In the 1984 off-season, Nelson – who was also Bucks general manager – traded Johnson, forward-guard Junior Bridgeman, forward Harvey Catchings and cash to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for forward Terry Cummings, and guards Craig Hodges and Ricky Pierce. This was a homecoming for Johnson, as he grew up and attended high school just a few miles from the Clippers' home at Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena.

The Clippers struggled to win. Johnson later said that playing for those losing Clippers teams "kind of wore you down and made you feel like you were kind of the JV team in Los Angeles." Being named the team captain by head coach Don Chaney, a fellow Louisianan, was one of the few things that kept him from demanding a trade.[10] During a game in the 1986–87 season, Johnson suffered a neck injury, which effectively ended his career.[11]

Golden State Warriors (1989)[edit]

Johnson made a brief comeback during the 1989–90 season,[12] playing only 10 games with the Warriors before retiring on December 27, 1989.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Johnson has five sons, Kris, Josiah, Joshua, Moriah and Cyrus.

Kris, like his father, played basketball at Crenshaw High and UCLA.[14] Johnson and Kris are the first father–son combo to be honored as Los Angeles City Section 4-A Player of the Year.[1][note 1] They are also one of four father-son duos to each win an NCAA basketball championship and the only ones to accomplish it at the same school.[note 2][16]

Josiah also played basketball at UCLA, but later helped create the Comedy Central show, The Legends of Chamberlain Heights.[17]

Josh played college basketball at Western Oregon State University.[18]

Moriah played basketball at Tuskegee University[19] and is an actor on the BET's Baldwin Hills.

Johnson also has two daughters. Jasmine is an accomplished tennis player and Shiloh excels at golf and swimming.

Johnson's child, Marques Kevin Johnson Jr., was 15-months-old when he fell into the family swimming pool on May 15, 1987 and drowned.[20]

During his early playing career, Johnson suffered with substance abuse issues. While on the Bucks, in 1982, Johnson was treated for cocaine addiction at a drug rehabilitation facility.[21]

Looking back on his transition from comparatively warm-weather southern California to Wisconsin upon being drafted, Johnson said “My first year — and I may get this conflated — but the first year was more snow than they’d had in 25 years. It was just snow, snow, snow until May, and then my second year was the coldest that it had been in 30 years… And everybody kept telling me that ‘This is really extreme. It’s bad, but it’s not really this bad.’ And you couldn’t have told me different.”[9]

Media career[edit]

As his playing career ended, Johnson got into the entertainment business, as he acted in small roles in many films, including White Men Can't Jump, Love and Action in Chicago, Blue Chips, and Forget Paris. Johnson is still actively enhancing his creative roots, writing screenplays and short stories. His role in the aforementioned White Men Can't Jump as Raymond was praised, and Johnson claims fans still regularly quote the movie to him if they recognize him in public.[22][23]

Johnson was the early morning show co-host on the Clippers' flagship radio station, KFWB-AM in Los Angeles.

Johnson served a color analyst for the Seattle SuperSonics in the late 1990s. He was nationally on Fox Sports and Fox Sports 1 as a basketball analyst.

Since 2015, Johnson has worked as both a full-time and part-time analyst for Milwaukee Bucks telecasts on Fox Sports Wisconsin.

Awards and honors[edit]

NBA career statistics[edit]

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high

Regular season[edit]

1977–78 Milwaukee 80 34.6 .522 .736 10.6 2.4 1.2 1.3 19.5
1978–79 Milwaukee 77 36.1 .550 .760 7.6 3.0 1.5 1.2 25.6
1979–80 Milwaukee 77 34.9 .544 .222 .791 7.4 3.5 1.3 .9 21.7
1980–81 Milwaukee 76 33.4 .552 .000 .706 6.8 4.6 1.5 .5 20.3
1981–82 Milwaukee 60 52 31.7 .532 .000 .700 6.1 3.6 1.0 .6 16.5
1982–83 Milwaukee 80 80 35.7 .509 .200 .735 7.0 4.5 1.3 .7 21.4
1983–84 Milwaukee 74 74 36.7 .502 .154 .709 6.5 4.3 1.6 .6 20.7
1984–85 L.A. Clippers 72 68 34.0 .452 .231 .731 5.9 3.4 1.0 .4 16.4
1985–86 L.A. Clippers 75 75 34.7 .510 .067 .760 5.5 3.8 1.4 .7 20.3
1986–87 L.A. Clippers 10 10 30.2 .439 .000 .714 3.3 2.8 1.2 .5 16.6
1989–90 Golden State 10 0 9.9 .375 .667 .824 1.7 .9 .0 .1 4.0
Career 691 359 34.3 .518 .152 .739 7.0 3.6 1.3 .8 20.1
All-Star 5 2 21.2 .314 .750 3.8 1.8 0.2 0.4 6.8


1978 Milwaukee 9 35.7 .549 .750 12.4 3.4 1.1 1.9 24.0
1980 Milwaukee 7 43.3 .422 .333 .750 6.9 2.9 .7 .9 19.9
1981 Milwaukee 7 38.0 .556 .000 .719 9.4 4.9 1.4 1.0 24.7
1982 Milwaukee 6 39.2 .440 .250 .571 7.3 3.3 1.0 .3 18.8
1983 Milwaukee 9 42.4 .486 .000 .651 8.0 4.2 .9 .8 22.0
1984 Milwaukee 16 37.8 .473 .250 .722 5.3 3.4 1.1 .4 20.3
Career 54 39.1 .489 .231 .701 7.9 3.7 1.0 .8 21.5


  1. ^ Dwayne Polee (1981) and Dwayne Jr. (2010) also won the award.[15]
  2. ^ The others are Scott and Sean May, Henry and Mike Bibby, and Derek and Nolan Smith.


  1. ^ a b Waters, Sean; Lee, Kirby (March 28, 1993). "Johnson & Johnson Score a City 4-A First". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on May 10, 2012.
  2. ^ "Mixed emotions greet Hazzard at ceremony". The Victoria Advocate. Associated Press. February 3, 1996. p. 3B. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Aschburner, Steve (December 21, 2010). "LeBron a point forward? Well, he wouldn't be the first". Archived from the original on June 1, 2012.
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^ Siegel, Alan (May 6, 2015). "What It Was Like To Play For The '80s Clippers, The Worst Team In Sports". Deadspin. Gawker Media. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  11. ^ "Marques Johnson Facing Surgery". New York Times. March 24, 1987.
  12. ^ "Warrior Comeback". New York Times. October 8, 1989.
  13. ^ "Warriors Cut Johnson". New York Times. December 2, 1989.
  14. ^ Waters, Sean (September 12, 1993). "Crenshaw's Kris Johnson Commits to UCLA". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on May 8, 2012.
  15. ^ Bolch, Ben (March 26, 2010). "For Dwayne Polee Jr., basketball wasn't always a slam dunk". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on May 8, 2012.
  16. ^ "Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler and a Crystal Ball Oliver Purnell Pursuing Greener Pastures Roy Halladay Deal Good for Baseball?". ESPN. April 6, 2010. Archived from the original on January 23, 2014.
  17. ^ Adande, J.A. (April 2, 2003). "Howland Deal Near". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on May 9, 2012.
  18. ^
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  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ Steele, Ben (March 24, 2019). "Given a second chance, Bucks great Marques Johnson embraced Milwaukee. The 8 in the rafters shows the feeling is mutual". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Archived from the original on March 25, 2019. Retrieved March 25, 2019.

External links[edit]