Eddie Johnson, Former NBA All-Star 'Fast Eddie,' Dead at 65

Eddie Johnson, a former two-time NBA All-Star has passed away at the age of 65. "Fast Eddie" died on Oct. 26 after an unknown illness led to his death. Rocker-Cusack Mortuary in Leesburg, Florida, confirmed the news on Tuesday.

A former third-round pick by the Atlanta Hawks in the 1977 NBA Draft, Johnson served a life sentence at Santa Rosa Correctional Institution in Milton, Florida. He was convicted in 2008 of sexual assault on an 8-year-old girl. Johnson was 53 at the time and received a mandatory life sentence. According to the mortuary, Johnson will be buried at Weirsdale (Florida) Community Cemetery on Saturday.

Johnson spent 10 seasons in the NBA, earning the nickname of "Fast Eddie" due to his explosive first step. He averaged 15.1 points during his career and posted a career-high by averaging 19.1 points for the Hawks in the 1980-81 season. Johnson started in both the 1980 and 1981 All-Star Games.

The Hawks traded Johnson to Cleveland on Feb. 10, 1986, in exchange for Johnny Davis. He appeared in 32 games for the team, starting four. Johnson later signed with Seattle in 1987, playing in 24 games before his career came to an end.

The NBA handed down a lifetime ban to Johnson after his Seattle tenure began. He was arrested in 1987 after allegedly selling $20 worth of crack cocaine to Lake County undercover agents. Johnson was an "admitted cocaine addict" and said that he had begun experimenting with the drug during his collegiate years at Auburn.

Johnson denied the charges in 1987, saying that he was not in Central Florida at the alleged sale. "I am not an unintelligent guy," he said, per the Orlando Sentinel. "I would not sell cocaine. I have more going for me than to sell a $20 rock." Johnson underwent cocaine abuse treatment a year before his arrest and was required to avoid drinking alcohol or using drugs.


In addition to Johnson's arrests for cocaine abuse, psychiatrists also diagnosed the NBA player with manic depression. They prescribed lithium tablets, but Johnson stopped taking them during the 1980-1981 season. He reportedly said that the lithium tablets were contributing to his tiredness during games and that he did not need the medication anymore.

Following his suspension from the NBA, Johnson faced several legal issues. He was arrested for multiple crimes, including burglary, assaulting a police officer and shoplifting. He was ultimately arrested in 2006 for burglary and sexual battery and molestation of an 8-year-old girl, the charges that led to his life sentence.