Eddie Johnson, controversial ex-NBA player banned from the league, dies at 65

Eddie Johnson, controversial ex-NBA player banned from the league, dies at 65

November 6, 2020

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A former NBA player who was banned from playing in the league over his cocaine use died in prison.

“Fast” Eddie Johnson died Oct. 26 while battling an illness, Florida officials told TMZ Sports on Wednesday. He was 65.

Johnson was a two-time NBA All-Star and a two-time All-Defense First Team selection during his career. He played nine seasons for the Atlanta Hawks and a season each with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Seattle SuperSonics.

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He averaged 15.1 points and 5.1 assists per game but his career came with an abundance of controversy.

In 1987, the NBA handed down a lifetime suspension for Johnson after several suspensions. He had checked into rehab in 1986 but failed to follow up on mandatory counseling, which led to the lifetime ban.

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Johnson battled a cocaine addiction throughout his NBA career. Sports Illustrated reported that Johnson had been diagnosed as having manic depression but doubted the diagnosis. His erratic behavior even caught the attention of the Hawks’ Michael Gearon and Stan Kasten who had Johnson’s psychiatrist signed a commitment order to have the player put into a hospital in 1981.

After he was banned by the NBA, he tallied more than 100 arrests.

The final straw came in 2006 when he was arrested for burglary and the molestation of an 8-year-old girl while awaiting trial on other rape charges. He was convicted in 2008 of sexual battery of a minor, lewd and lascivious molestation of a minor and trespassing for the sexual assault of the minor, according to the Ocala Star-Banner.

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He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

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