During our lives, we face challenges that sometimes seem overwhelming. It is not always easy to overcome the obstacles that challenge each of us on a daily basis, but through hard work and dedication to achieving personal goals, we can find the success we are striving for.
Eddie Johnson is the epitome of someone who has worked hard and dedicated his life to succeeding… no matter what the obstacle or challenge in front of him.
Growing up in a tough neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois, surrounded by drugs, gangs and violence, Eddie was faced with many challenges on a daily basis. He was the sixth child of seven and was raised by a determined single mother. It didn't take long before Eddie realized that he could stay out of trouble by focusing on school and basketball. With vision, a strong desire and unending support from his mother and siblings, Eddie finished high school. Through hard work, dedication and the desire to make a better life for his family, he was awarded with a full athletic scholarship to the University of Illinois.
Eddie received a BA in History in 1981… making him the first in the Johnson family to complete a college education. In that same year, Eddie realized one of his life-long dreams when the Kansas City Kings drafted him as their #29 pick. Although he was not drafted highly, Eddie worked tirelessly to improve his game. He culminated his seventeen-year career by becoming one of the most prolific scorers and greatest pure jump shooters to ever have played the game. His hard work ethic and strong leadership abilities have taken him to success off the court as well. As a color analyst with the Phoenix Suns, Johnson has established himself as one who brings an honest, knowledgeable and unique style to the networks (NBC, TNT, ESPN and the Big Ten Network.) In addition, he has written many articles for USA Today and HoopsHype.com. Taking those same leadership qualities that he honed on the basketball court, Eddie has crossed over to the business world. He also owns JJJ Sports, a company that is comprised of basketball camps, clinics, instructional videos, books and motivational speaking.
Eddie Johnson’s successes in life are wonderful examples of what a person can achieve through sheer determination, hard work and support from friends and family. Through his powerful motivational speaking style, Eddie is eager to share his life stories to all those who want to achieve their goals and realize their dreams.
Eddie Johnson fell in love with basketball at the age of 13 years old. He had a difficult time giving up baseball which had consumed him up until then, but growing like a weed and coming from a basketball pedigree (family), the sport won him over and he has never looked back.
Eddie attended Westinghouse High School in Chicago, Illinois and was a teammate of Mark Aguirre who was the NBA’s #1 pick in the 1981 draft. (Dallas Mavericks) During his senior year, he was awarded 2nd-Team Parade High School All-American, 1st-Team All-State and was also voted Chicago’s 1977 Basketball Player of the Year.
He was chosen to represent the USA that summer alongside Hall of Famer and arguably the best player in the history of the NBA, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, at the Albert Schweitzer Games in Mannheim, Germany. They crushed opponents by an average of 30 points winning the tournament with ease!
He decided to attend the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana and play for Coach Lou Henson. During his stint there, Eddie was a two-time MVP selection and, in his senior year, he was chosen All-Big 10. Eddie stayed all four years and departed in 1981 as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,692 points and 831 rebounds. Receiving a BS in History he became the first in his family to acquire a college education. To this day, this is his biggest accomplishment! Eddie was drafted the 29th (6th pick 2nd round) player by the Kansas City Kings in 1981 and went on to enjoy a 17 year career!
Unlike neighborhood friends Mark Aguirre who was the NBAs #1 pick in the 1981 draft and Isaiah Thomas who was #2, Eddie had a lot to prove when he entered the NBA with no guarantee of making the team. Despite the odds of having to impress Kings Head Coach Cotton Fitzsimmons and compete against incumbent players, Eddie proved his value and went on to play 17 years in the NBA and one season in Greece. He played for the Kansas City Kings (1981-1985), Sacramento Kings (1985-1987), Phoenix Suns (1987-1990), Seattle Supersonics (1990-1993), Charlotte Hornets (1993-1994), Olympiacos in Athens, Greece (1994-1995), Indiana Pacers (1995-1997) and Houston Rockets (1997-1999).
In 1989, Eddie won the NBA “6th Man of the Year award as a player for the Phoenix Suns when he averaged 21.5 points while averaging only 29 minutes per game. Although he never realized his dream of winning an NBA championship he came close four times by reaching the conference finals in 1989, 1990, 1993 and 1997.
The only professional championship Eddie did win was in Greece during the 1993-1994 seasons. That season, he decided to take a break from the NBA and took his family and talent to Europe in order to experience a new culture; it turned out to be one of the greatest years of his life. In 1997, he topped his European experience with the Houston Rockets as a 38 year old, when he scored 31 points in a conference final game three win against the Utah Jazz. In game four of that same series, he swished a 27 foot jump shot at the buzzer to tie the series 2-2. Two years later, at age 40, Eddie decided to retire. He left the NBA as its 32nd all-time leading scorer (19,202), having the distinction of being the player who has scored the most points in the history of the league and to never make an All-Star team. Currently, Eddie has scored more points than all but 17 players elected to the NBA Hall of Fame.
Eddie decided early in his career that public speaking was a serious transitional career he wanted to pursue and after numerous internships, radio and television appearances, he developed the experience to immediately transition to the public sector after his basketball career ended. National commentating, philanthropic work and motivational speaking seemed like the perfect career to balance staying at home to help raise his two young children.
In addition to his radio and television work, Eddie served time on the Phoenix Youth Commission, supported Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Sacramento and Phoenix, worked with Special Olympics, the Arizona Association for Foster and Adoptive Parents and his current focus is Helping Hands for Single Moms Organization for which he has an annual event “Eddie Johnson and Friends, Hoops for Single Moms” .
Leadership and an ability to communicate his life story of hardships and challenges have allowed Eddie to speak to corporations like Intel, Motorola, Craftco, and Cox Communications. His speaking engagements cover a plethora of topics such as business, sports, image, self-esteem, teamwork and winning
Eddie retired in 1999 and spent the next year writing his plan to help young players coming up in the game. Education and leadership has always been the backbone of success and once he understood its importance within sports and business, he has made it his mission to make sure young people start off on a solid foundation towards success. In 2000, he started his company JJJ Sports which is directed at helping young people become well rounded in sports and life. JJJ Sports focuses on camps, clinics, instructional videos, books and motivational speaking. This is all centered on creating a well-rounded athlete and businessman or businesswoman.
In addition, Eddie has: