Tributes have poured in for Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Africa stalwart Brent “BJ” Johnson who died in a biking accident last week.
Johnson was a fixture at Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Africa camps, having attended every one since 2005.
“His trips with you all were what he looked forward to every year,” his son, Bijan, said. “He loved his BWB family.”
A longtime scout of the Houston Rockets, an organisation he had been with since 1994, Johnson, 65 at the time of his death, was among the most respected men in his profession.
The Rockets paid tribute to Johnson in a statement announcing Johnson’s death.
It said: “BJ was beloved and respected not only throughout the Rockets organisation but across the league and the basketball world. He was a part of the organisation for 26 years making an immeasurable impact on the team’s success on and off the court. We will miss his cheerful disposition, infectious smile and uplifting spirit.”
Everyone that has commented on Johnson following the accident has cited his desire to always help, be it players, coaches or those attempting to follow in his footsteps as a scout.
His death has come as a shock across the National Basketball Association (NBA), with members of other clubs expressing their condolences. Many players and scouts have credited Johnson for helping them find their way in the league.
World Basketball national federations and sports director, Zoran Radovic, paid tribute to his friend and colleague during an online ceremony for BJ Johnson with more than 250 people from all over the world present and said:
“Since we crossed paths at BWB Africa and when I saw how passionate you were leading the team of kids you coached, I just knew you loved the game, you loved the kids you coached for the first time and I could see how passionate you were.
“Your dedication to basketball, your enthusiasm, your smile meant for success. I loved our arguments over referee calls, I enjoyed our little secret basketball discussions where I learned a lot from you, I loved our chats about common friends, and I loved our friendship.
“There are no words of thanks for all that you did for the Basketball Without Borders program, for the kids there, for the entire BWB family, for basketball. On behalf of myself and the whole FIBA family, I would like to sincerely thank you.”
In partnership in ANA and Sports Leo