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Saturday, May 18, 2024

A Redwood City-trained NBA champion

Charles Johnson surprised the Golden State Warriors when he was a standout at Sequoia High School and went on to earn two rings in the Association.

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Peninsula 360 Press

The NBA has entered the crucial part of its 2019-2020 season with the definition of the conference finals in the Orlando Bubble, Florida, where only the Lakers, Nuggets, Heat and Celtics, the team that eliminated the defending champion Toronto Raptors, survive.

In the Finals of the 2018-2019 season, Canada became the first franchise outside the United States to win the Larry O'Brien Trophy after a six-game victory over the Golden State Warriors, who had won three of the last four championships.

But the Warriors' story wasn't always one of success. The team from "the bay" managed only two rings in its first 29 years as an NBA franchise, until the narrative changed in 1975, when point guard Charles Johnson joined the ranks.

A native of Corpus Christi, Texas, Johnson emigrated from home to attend Sequoia High School, where his basketball skills opened the door for him to represent the University of California, Berkeley, with the Golden Bears. 

Paradoxically, his height was not like his high school name: at 6'3", ?C.J.? impressed in the professional league by scoring more than 1,000 points in three years, in addition to winning the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award, which honors the best college basketball player with below-average height.

In 1971 Golden State selected Charles Johnson in the sixth round of the NBA draft with whom he played five seasons and was a key player for the 1974-1975 title, averaging 12.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in the playoffs; in addition they not only qualified to the finals as the top seed in the West, but won the championship series 4-0 to the Washington Bullets, team in which later (1978) also highlighted ?C.J.?

With the Bullets, the point guard won his second Larry O'Brien after beating Seattle Supersonics 4-3, scoring 19 points in the seventh and final game and averaging 10.2 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists that season.

Charles Johnson retired early from the NBA, as in 1979 he decided to leave the game and spend the rest of his life at his home in Oakland, California, where he died of cancer. Charlie, as his teammates called him, is remembered as one of the best players and one of those responsible for the awakening of the Bay Area on the court.

Peninsula 360 Press
Peninsula 360 Presshttps://peninsula360press.com
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