Atlanta Hawks: 15 best NBA Draft picks of all-time

Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Eddie Johnson, Atlanta Hawks
(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /

During the 1980s in the NBA, there were two Eddie Johnsons. The older of the two was a shooting guard primarily for the Hawks. The younger won Sixth Man of the Year and hit a big shot for the Houston Rockets in his late 30s in the 1990s. Atlanta drafted the older Eddie Johnson No. 49 overall out of Auburn in the 1977 NBA Draft.

In Atlanta uniform, Johnson was a two-time NBA All-Star and a two-time All-Defensive member. Johnson made consecutive All-Star Game appearances in 1980 and 1981. He would make consecutive All-Defensive second teams in 1979 and 1980. If only he could have kept his nose clean and his head on right…

Johnson’s life would spiral out of control in the 1980s due to a cocaine addiction. He would seek treatment, but would be banned from the NBA for life in 1987 after failing to uphold his end of the bargain in terms of mandatory counseling sessions. He had been arrested over 100 times before being sentenced to life without parole in 2008 for sexual battery and molestation of a minor.

Johnson’s fall from grace is hard to get one’s head around, but it is reality. In nine years with the Hawks, Johnson averaged 15.6 points, 5.2 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game in 30.5 mintues per contest. He is incarcerated at the Santa Rosa Correctional Institution in Milton, Florida.