February 24th, 2007 → 12:13 pm @

There’ve been lots of good obits of Denis Johnson, the only think I haven’t really seen is a good appreciation of ’80s-era short shorts. I always thought DJ should have been more of an urban hero, the Celtics own John Starks (except DJ played spectacular defense, didn’t try to show up local legends, and didn’t choke in the clutch). Alas, Boston has no Beastie Boys equivalent, and it’s hard to imagine the New Kids busting out with “I got a heart like DJ / going to play / pass me the mic and I’ll be rocking all day.”

My memories DJ consist of a lot of A-Gonesque defensive gems, but, of course, whenever I see his freckled face it’s impossible for me not to flash back to the final seconds of Game 5 of the ’87 Eastern Conference Finals. I was still dealing with the trauma of the previous October, and had banished every member of my family from our TV room so I could nurse my despair solo. Then, of course, there was Most’s “Aaaaaaand, THERE’S A STEAL BY BIRD! UNDERNEATH TO DJ! LAYS IT UP AND IN! WHAT A PLAY BY BIRD!” By this point, it’s cliche to say that Johnson doesn’t get the credit he deserves for being on top of the unfolding play and hitting a damn tough layup from the left side. (That was one of the many game winners DJ, a self-described “horrible shooter,” nailed; the biggest ones always seemed to be on the biggest stages.) In our family, that will always be the day that we put the fear of god into our new cat, who responded to my frenzied screams by disappearing for more than a week. We found her under the radiator in our pantry. She was never the same.

Post Categories: 1980s Celtics & DJ