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 60)
Natchitoches, Louisiana
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)
Listed weight 218 lb (99 kg)
Career information
High school Crenshaw (Los Angeles, California)
College UCLA (1973–1977)
NBA draft 1977 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3rd overall
Selected by the Milwaukee Bucks
Playing career 1977–1989
Position Small forward
Number 8
Career history
19771984 Milwaukee Bucks
19841987 Los Angeles Clippers
1989 Golden State Warriors
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points 13,892 (20.1 ppg)
Rebounds 4,817 (7.0 rpg)
Assists 2,502 (3.6 apg)
Stats at
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2013

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

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] He later attended UCLA, and became a star player on its basketball teams, under the guidance of legendary coach John Wooden. 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. In 1996, UCLA retired his number.[2]

Professional career[edit]

Johnson was selected third overall in the 1977 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, who were 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). 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".[3] However, Del Harris, then-Bucks assistant coach, claims that he first mentioned the term to Nelson.[3] Johnson and the Bucks reached as far as the Eastern Conference Finals twice, in 1983 and again in 1984.

In the 1984 offseason, 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.[4] During a game in the 1986–87 season, Johnson suffered a neck injury, which effectively ended his career.[5] Johnson made a brief comeback during the 1989–90 season,[6] playing only 10 games with the Warriors before retiring on December 27, 1989.[7]

Awards and honors[edit]

Outside basketball[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. For a while, Johnson served a color commentator for the Seattle SuperSonics in the late 1990s and is regularly seen nationally on Fox Sports Net and Fox Sports 1 as a basketball analyst. Johnson is still actively enhancing his creative roots, writing screenplays and short stories.

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


He has five sons, Kris, Josiah, Joshua, Moriah and Cyrus. Kris, like his father, played basketball at Crenshaw High and UCLA.[8] 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][10] Josiah also played basketball at UCLA.[11] Moriah is a star on the BET's Baldwin Hills (TV series).


  1. ^ Dwayne Polee (1981) and Dwayne Jr. (2010) also won the award.[9]
  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. ^ a b Aschburner, Steve (December 21, 2010). "LeBron a point forward? Well, he wouldn't be the first". Archived from the original on June 1, 2012. 
  4. ^ Siegel, Alan (May 6, 2015). "What It Was Like To Play For The '80s Clippers, The Worst Team In Sports". Deadspin. Gawker Media. Retrieved 6 May 2015. 
  5. ^ "Marques Johnson Facing Surgery". New York Times. March 24, 1987. 
  6. ^ "Warrior Comeback". New York Times. October 8, 1989. 
  7. ^ "Warriors Cut Johnson". New York Times. December 2, 1989. 
  8. ^ Waters, Sean (September 12, 1993). "Crenshaw's Kris Johnson Commits to UCLA". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on May 8, 2012. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ "Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler and a Crystal Ball Oliver Purnell Pursuing Greener Pastures Roy Halladay Deal Good for Baseball?". April 6, 2010. Archived from the original on January 23, 2014. 
  11. ^ Adande, J.A. (April 2, 2003). "Howland Deal Near". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on May 8, 2012. 

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