Vinnie Johnson

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Vinnie Johnson
Personal information
Born (1956-09-01) September 1, 1956 (age 59)
Brooklyn, New York
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Listed weight 200 lb (91 kg)
Career information
High school Franklin D. Roosevelt
(Brooklyn, New York)
College McLennan CC (1975–1977)
Baylor (1977–1979)
NBA draft 1979 / Round: 1 / Pick: 7th overall
Selected by the Seattle SuperSonics
Pro career 1979–1992
Position Shooting guard
Number 15, 25
Career history
19791981 Seattle SuperSonics
19811991 Detroit Pistons
1991–1992 San Antonio Spurs
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points 11,825 (12.0 ppg)
Assists 3,212 (3.3 apg)
Rebound 3,109 (3.2 rpg)
Stats at

Vincent "Vinnie" Johnson (born September 1, 1956), nicknamed "The Microwave," is a retired American professional basketball player and a key player as sixth man for the Detroit Pistons during the team's NBA championships of 1989 and 1990.

College basketball career[edit]

Starting his career in 1975 at the juco McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas, Johnson was a star there for two years, leading the team to the NJCAA national tournament in the 1976-77 season while averaging 29 points per game and being named a junior college All-American.[1]

Johnson transferred across town to attend Baylor University for the 1977-78 and 1978-79 seasons. One of the most prolific scorers in Baylor basketball history, Johnson averaged 24.1 points per game in his two seasons in Waco. A two-time All-American, Johnson is the school record-holder in points-per-game average, ranks 15th in career points, and third in career assists average at Baylor. He was named All-SWC in both 1978 and 1979. Johnson also holds the Baylor record for most points scored in a game with 50 against TCU in 1979.

Professional basketball career[edit]

Johnson was chosen as the No. 7 overall pick in the 1979 NBA draft by the Seattle SuperSonics. He was traded to the Detroit Pistons in November 1981.[2]

At 6 feet 2 inches tall, Johnson's skill set allowed him to replace either point guard Isiah Thomas or shooting guard Joe Dumars from the bench. Johnson earned the nickname "the Microwave" from Boston Celtics guard Danny Ainge for his ability to score many points in a short period of time (i.e., Johnson could heat up the offense of the team in short order).[2][3]

On June 19, 1990, Johnson made a 14-foot shot with 0.7 seconds left on the clock, beating the Portland Trail Blazers 92-90 in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, and giving Detroit a repeat championship. The basket earned Johnson a new nickname: 007.[2]

After leaving the Pistons following the 1990–91 season, Johnson would play one more season in the NBA with the San Antonio Spurs before retiring in 1992. From 1990 to 2001, he served as a color analyst on Pistons radio broadcasts.

The Pistons honored Johnson's career by retiring his number 15 jersey in a ceremony on February 5, 1994, at The Palace of Auburn Hills.[2] Johnson was influenced by Earl Monroe growing up and only wore number 15 throughout his playing days. When asked about it by a fan later he said, "It was a huge honor. The fact that they retired my jersey tells me that I did some great things for the organization."[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Johnson grew up in Brooklyn, New York,[1] attending Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School.

In 1995, Johnson founded the auto supply company Piston Automotive. Today, Johnson is chairman of the Redford, Michigan-based[4] Piston Group, with around 200 employees in the Detroit area.[5][6]


  1. ^ a b Staff report (January 30, 2015). "Vinnie Johnson, ex-MCC star, joins juco hoops hall". Waco Tribune-Herald. Retrieved January 30, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d The Microwave
  3. ^ "20 Questions with Vinnie Johnson". Retrieved 2009-05-01. 
  4. ^ Piston Group: Contact Us
  5. ^ About Piston Group
  6. ^ Shepardson, David (July 26, 2010). "Ex-Piston Johnson says team faces years of rebuilding". Detroit News (Washington, DC). Retrieved July 26, 2010. 

External links[edit]