Eddie Johnson, the two-time All-Star for the Atlanta Hawks whose career was shortened by arrests which led to a ban from the NBA and life sentence in prison, has died. He was 65.
Johnson passed away on Oct. 26. His death was confirmed Tuesday by Rocker-Cusack Mortuary in Leesburg, Florida.
Johnson was a third-round pick from Auburn by the Hawks in the 1977 NBA draft. He became an immediate contributor and then starter for the Hawks.
Due to his explosive first step, Johnson earned the nickname “Fast Eddie” and 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. He started in the 1980 and 1981 All-Star Games.
The Hawks traded Johnson to Cleveland for Johnny Davis on Feb. 10, 1986. Johnson signed with Seattle in 1987. He received a lifetime suspension from the NBA in 1987 for his cocaine use.
Johnson was 53 when, according to the Florida Department of Corrections website, he received a mandatory life sentence in 2008 after he was found guilty of sexual assault on an 8-year-old girl.
Johnson was serving the life sentence at Santa Rosa Correctional Institution 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.
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CORRECTION: This story is being retransmitted to note that the photo of former Suns player Eddie Johnson that was erroneously linked to this story previously has been deleted. The photo should have been of former Hawks player Eddie Johnson.