Nov. 8, 2011
BERKELEY - Kevin Johnson, who starred for the Golden Bears on the basketball court from 1983-87, is one of six former student-athletes honored by the NCAA with a Silver Anniversary Award, an annual recognition of distinguished individuals on the 25th anniversary of the conclusion of their college athletics careers.
In addition to Johnson, the other recipients are: Doris Burke, Tim Brown, Sean Payton, Amy Perko and David Robinson. The awardees will be recognized at the Honors Celebration on Jan. 13 during the NCAA Convention in Indianapolis.
Johnson was a four-year starter at point guard for the Bears and finished his career with 1,655 points - a school record at the time. He earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors as a junior and a senior and as an honorable mention All-American both seasons, as well.
In 1986, Johnson led Cal to the National Invitation Tournament, the school's first postseason berth in 26 years. The Bears returned to the NIT in 1987 during Johnson's senior campaign and reached the quarterfinals.
After he left Cal as a first-round draft pick of the Cleveland Cavaliers (seventh overall), Johnson enjoyed a long NBA career through 2000, primarily with the Phoenix Suns. During his time in Phoenix, Johnson was a three-time NBA All-Star and five-time All-NBA selection.
Johnson was elected as first African-American mayor of Sacramento in 2008. Before serving as mayor, Johnson founded and was the CEO of St. HOPE, a nonprofit community development organization. He was honored by President George H.W. Bush with the 411th Point of Light for his work with children and education.
In addition to Johnson, former Cal rower Jill Costello will receive the NCAA Inspiration Award at the NCAA Convention. Costello, who passed away in June 2010, will be recognized for her effort to raise awareness for lung cancer research.
The following are summaries of the other five winners' accomplishments:
Burke is a trailblazer on many counts. She is the first woman to call a Big East Conference men's basketball game, the first woman to be hired as a regular commentator for a men's college basketball package and the first woman to call a New York Knicks game on radio and television. Working for ESPN since 1991, Burke has served as a sideline reporter, analyst and play-by-play broadcaster for NCAA men's and women's basketball, the NBA and the WNBA. She was presented USA Today's Rudy Award for the Best New Face in Sports Television in 2003 and was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006. As a member of the starting line-up for Providence College, Burke ranks 10th all-time in scoring and second in career assists.
Brown was the first wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy in 1987. He set two single-game, nine single-season and eight career records during his time at Notre Dame. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009. The nine-time Pro Bowl selection was drafted sixth overall in the 1988 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles (Oakland) Raiders. Brown retired with numerous NFL and Raiders records. He serves as the national chairman and spokesperson for Athletes and Entertainers for Kids and 9-1-1 For Kids. Each year, Brown hosts the Tim Brown Charity Golf Classic to benefit 9-1-1 For Kids, and the Mentor Mini Camp at the Raiders' headquarters for 100 fatherless boys.
Payton is the coach of the Super Bowl XLIV Champion New Orleans Saints and was the NFL Coach of the Year in 2006. Prior to becoming head coach of the Saints, Payton served as an assistant coach for NFL and collegiate teams. Payton played in the NFL, Arena Football League and Canadian Football League. The Eastern Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame inductee still holds four single-season records, four career records and three individual game records there. Payton created the Play It Forward Foundation to raise funds for families in need. He also was a key figure in helping to revitalize the Saints and the city of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Perko is the executive director of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. After earning her master's degree, she worked at the NCAA and then at the University of Kansas. Before joining the Knight Commission, Perko was the first president of the Fayetteville Patriots, an NBA development team. Perko is a Wake Forest Sports Hall of Fame honoree, a CoSIDA All-America Hall of Fame honoree and an ACC Legend. She was a three-time Academic All-American who graduated summa cum laude and set multiple school women's basketball records. Perko currently serves on the Child Advocacy Center Board of Directors and is a youth basketball coach.
Robinson, a member of the original Dream Team, is the only American basketball player to participate in three Olympic Games and win three gold medals. Named the 1987 College Player of the Year, Robinson holds 30 different school records at Navy and was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009. The 1987 first pick in the NBA Draft was named one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players of All-Time. Robinson founded the Carver Academy in San Antonio and formed Admiral Capital Group to invest in opportunities that provide both financial and social returns. In 1998, Robinson made good on a promise to fifth-grade students in 1991 by awarding $8,000 scholarships to students who completed high school and enrolled in college.