>> Thursday, July 2, 2009
Growing up as a young Phoenix Suns fan in the nineties there were plenty of players that would strike a fan's fancy. Dan Marjele, Danny Ainge, Ced Ceballos and then the great Charles Barkley were all fan favorites in the Valley of the Rising Sun. However, Kevin Johnson, after his trade from Cleveland, became the most beloved player in Phoenix Suns history.
Kevin Johnson was a two-sport star throughout his high school career, excelling in basketball and baseball and lead the state of California in scoring during his senior campaign (32.5 ppg). Johnson was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in 1986 and spent a couple of summers in their organization, but it became apparent that Johnson's future was basketball and he stepped away from baseball. KJ went on to become the all-time points, assists and steals leader in his time at the University of California.
Johnson was eventually drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers 7th overall in the 1987 NBA draft. However, his time in Cleveland was short lived and KJ was traded to the Phoenix Suns, where his career began to explode. Johnson's career began to take off the moment he arrived in Phoenix and he was named NBA Rookie of the Month in April of 1988. Kevin's second year in Phoenix helped establish him as one of the truly great players at his position in the NBA. Johnson became just the third player in NBA history to average over 20 points and 12 assists a game (Big O and Isiah Thomas) and Johnson's sudden improvement was awarded with the NBA's Most Improved Player award and helped him gain respect among his peers. KJ's career continued to blossom and he became a regular on All-NBA teams throughout his career and is still labeled among the best Phoenix Suns of all time. Johnson's career finally came to an end following the 1997-1998 season (except for a short return in 1999-2000 playoffs).
Kevin Johnson, who owns a B.A. in Political Science from the esteemed UC-Berkley, announced his intentions to run for the Mayor of Sacramento and following a run-off election against incumbent Heather Fargo, Johnson was named the new mayor of the City of Sacramento.