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Kevin Johnson, Ring of Honor Inductee, 2001
December 7, 2011
Kevin Johnson was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers as the seventh overall pick in 1987 after achieving All Pac-10 first team honors in both his junior and senior year at the University of California-Berkeley.
Johnson is welcomed to Phoenix by owner Jerry Colangelo after being traded to the Suns along with Mark West, Ty Corbin, and three draft picks in February of 1988 for Larry Nance and Mike Sanders.
Johnsons impact was immediate averaging 20 points and 12 assists I his first full season with the Suns and was named the NBAs Most Improved Player in 1989.
The 1990-91 season started with two regular season games played in Japan.
Teammate Mark West and Johnson take in the sights in Tokyo.
The Suns split the two games with Utah on the Japan trip.
Johnson averaged over 20 points per game for his first five seasons in Phoenix and was named to the All-NBA second team for three straight years. He also won the J Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 1991.
Injured part of the 1992-93 season, Johnson came back to play in all 23 games of the playoffs.
The Suns beat the Lakers in the first round in five games after losing the first two.
After a hard-fought seven game series against Seattle in the Western Conference Finals, the Suns were in the 1993 NBA Finals.
Phoenix dropped the first two games of the Finals in Phoenix.
Johnson was tasked with defending Michael Jordan.
Down 3-1 in the series, Johnson led the Suns with 25 points in a victory in game 5 at Chicago to send the series back to Phoenix. The Suns would lose game 6 to the Bulls 99-98.
Despite the loss, the Suns had a parade after the Finals.
Johnson was also one of the players featured on the side of a Phoenix city bus.
Johnson played on the 1994 USA National team that won the FIBA World Championship with Johnson leading the team in assists.
Kevin played in three All-Star games, 1990, 1991, and in 1994 with teammate Tom Chambers (24).
Johnson averaged 18.7 points and 9.5 assists in his twelve seasons with the Suns.
Johnson retired, for the first time, after the 1997-98 season.
When Jason Kidd was injured late in the 1999-2000 season, Johnson was coaxed out of retirement for the playoffs and helped the Suns register their first series victory in five years.
Johnson retired again, and permanently, after the 2000 playoffs.
Johnson is one of only three players in NBA history to average 20 points and 10 assists in three consecutive seasons (Isiah Thomas and Oscar Robertson).
Johnson relaxes in his easy chair when the Suns inducted him into the Ring of Honor on March 7 (his number), 2001.
Johnson received his framed jersey.
Johnson acknowledges the crowd at his Ring of Honor induction.
Johnsons Ring of Honor sign hangs on the facing of the upper deck at US Airways Center with the other Rink of Honor members.
The Kevin Johnson Wall is on the third level of US Airways Center.
In 2008, Johnson was elected mayor of Sacramento, California.
Being a mayor of a major city and a former basketball player allows for some interesting meeting places with the governor of your state.
At the 2009 NBA All-Star game in Phoenix, Johnson spoke to former players at the NBA Legends Brunch.
Kevin Maurice Johnson, 1988-1998, 1999-2000. NBA All-Star (1990-91, 1994). NBA Most Improved Player (1989). All-NBA Second Team (1989-91, 1994) Third Team (1992). J.Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award (1991).