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|Avery Johnson smiles wide before the All-Star Game.|
Not me. Not when he took over the helm of one of the most misunderstood and underachieving teams not owned by the Maloofs. Not when he was proving Damon Stoudamire wrong after Stoudamire said San Antonio will "never win a championship with Avery Johnson as their point guard." Not when he and I were together in New Orleans; I at Xavier University, he at Southern University. Not when he would come down to the Barn for pickup games on our campus and display the gift that had him leading the nation in assists. Not when I replaced him for two games on a New Orleans semipro team, Team Gumbo, in 1985.
None of us knew he would be here, on this stage, so soon in his life. On center stage. Watching Beyoncé sing her last song with her girls, watching 10 of the best ballers in the world compete for best intro during the introductions. His ecstasy took over his nervousness. This weekend he was like a kid in a GameStop, or a candy store. For four days a smile. On Saturday he turned practice into his own personal mini-concert. Getting the crowd hyped, getting them to choose sides, getting them to know him. After no one seemed to want to make a basket during shooting drills: "If you all don't hurry up and and make a shot the coaches are going to get in and shoot for you all."
|Avery Johnson has the Mavs clicking on all cylinders.|
|Johnson just seems like a natural leader.|