Eddie Johnson, the two-time All-Star for the Atlanta Hawks what career was shortened by arrests leading to a ban from the NBA, has died. He was 65 years old. He fell from NBA stardom into drug abuse and a life of crime resulting in a life sentence for sexually assaulting a young girl.
He died on October 26 in a state prison in Milton, Florida. On Tuesday, his death was confirmed by Rocker-Cusack Mortuary in Leesburg, Florida. No cause of death was given.
Johnson, who was nicknamed ‘Fast Eddie’, was a third-round pick from Auburn University by the Hawks in the 1977 NBA Draft. He became an immediate contributor and then started the 1980 and 1981 All-Star Games for the Hawks.
Due to his explosive first step, he earned the nickname ‘Fast Eddie’. He averaged 15.1 points in 10 NBA seasons. He set a career-high by averaging 19.1 points for the Hawks in the 1980-81 season.
Johnson began to use cocaine in college and continued using it during his NBA career. During his professional playing days, he was charged with possession of cocaine, writing bad checks and car theft. He was hospitalized at least two times for treatment of the manic-depressive disorder. He also successfully fled two men shooting at him in a motel parking lot after what the police said was a drug deal gone wrong.
With his production deteriorating and his behaviour growing more erratic, the Hawks traded Johnson to Cleveland for Johnny Davis on February 10, 1986. He signed with Seattle in 1987. He received a lifetime suspension from the NBA in 1987 for his use of cocaine.
He committed his most serious crime in 2006. Prosecutors said he had walked into an unlocked front door of an apartment in Ocala where an 8-year-old girl and her three brothers were alone watching television; a babysitter had stepped outside.
Johnson was serving the life sentence at Santa Rosa Correctional Institute in Milton, Florida when an undisclosed illness led to his death.
The mortuary said Johnson will be buried at Weirsdale (Florida) Community Cemetery on Saturday.