(Inc.) – Avery Johnson overcame the odds as a player in the NBA. Despite going undrafted in the 1988 NBA Draft, Johnson went on to play 16 seasons in the league for six different franchises, becoming one of only two players less than six feet tall to play in more than 1,000 games. In 1999, he was the floor leader of the San Antonio Spurschampionship team (and was nicknamed the “Little General” for his leadership skills). In 2004, he joined the Dallas Mavericks as a player/coach, but before the season began he decided to retire as a player and to concentrate on coaching. In his first full season as head coach in 2005–2006, he was named NBA Coach of the Year as he guided the Mavericks to their first-ever NBA Finals appearance. He left the Mavericks in 2008, and after spending three years as an ESPN/ABC studio analyst, was hired as the new head coach of the New Jersey Nets before the 2010/2011 NBA season.
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