Former great forward Rick Barry, asked to compare Marques Johnson and Julius Erving, replied, “That’s difficult. It’s like comparing Mantle to Mays.”
Bob Lanier scored points. Bob Lanier grabbed rebounds. Bob Lanier pitched assists. Bob Lanier added spirit. And the second-place Bucks were challenging again, two to three games from the lead.
Cotton Fitzsimmons was named NBA Coach of the Year. Jubilantly, he announced to the world that Phil Ford was the best point guard in the game and probably “the best of his era.”
Johnson’s attitude hasn’t changed. He signs autographs endlessly. No matter how many people surround him, he is patient, always smiling, always chatting.
Marques Johnson was not alone on that backyard court. Jeff Johnson was there, too, playing him one-on-one, challenging, teaching, and competing. Almost every day, for six or seven years.