Avery Johnson

Studio Analyst, ESPN

Avery Johnson, former head coach of the Dallas Mavericks as well as championship NBA player for 16 seasons, is a teacher, leader, and most of all, a motivator. Named Coach of the Year in 2006, his first year as a head coach, Johnson knows what it takes to rise to the top. His motivational speeches are in high demand at corporations, churches and schools across the nation. He shares the tools, strategies, and attitude behind his own inspiring success story. Number nine in a family of 10 kids raised in the New Orleans’ Lafitte Housing project, Johnson, like many African-American males in America’s inner cities, spent his youth battling the statistics. Refusing to accept rejection, Johnson came to realize his dream of playing for the NBA, but not before his received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Southern University, in Baton Rouge, LA.

Known as “The Little General” for his on-court leadership and diminutive stature, at only 5’11” Johnson began his career as free agent with the Seattle Supersonics. He then went on to play with San Antonio, Houston, Golden State, Denver and Dallas. He was only the second player under six feet to play more than 1,000 games. Johnson helped guide the San Antonio Spurs to an NBA Championship in 1999, hitting the game and series winning shot. He is still the Spurs’ all-time leader in assists and ranks 28th in NBA history in that same category. In recognition for his contributions to the Spurs organization, Johnson’s No. 6 jersey was retired in December, 2007.

As a coach, his style takes into account his long road and is a true outline for success on the court and in life. While coaching the Dallas Mavericks, Johnson won 66 of his first 82 games, which were four more wins then any other coach in NBA league history. He was also the fastest coach to reach the 50-win mark (62 games) and coached the Western Conference All-Star game. Johnson led the Mavericks to their first appearance in the NBA finals. During his coaching tenure with the Mavericks he compiled a 194-70 (.735) winning record. He was named NBA Coach of the Month on four separate occasions.

Johnson has a strong passion for men’s ministry, and financially and spiritually supports many church programs in New Orleans, Houston, Dallas and San Antonio. He serves as a member of the board of directors of Hunger Busters, an organization dedicated to brining a freshly made meal to homeless people on the streets of Dallas and providing healthy snacks to after-school programs throughout the Dallas Independent School District.

In 2008, Johnson wrote his second book, Aspire Higher: Winning On and Off the Court with Determination, Discipline and Decisions (Collins), an essential game plan for anyone looking to reach their goals. In October, 2008 Johnson joined the ESPN broadcast team as an NBA studio analyst. He resides in The Woodlands, TX with his wife, Cassandra, and two children, Christianne and Avery Jr.