By Fred Silva, Staff Writer
Johnny Moore #00 1980-1990
Johnny Moore began his notable career at the University of Texas at Austin. He led the Longhorns to the 1978 NIT championship and was the team MVP in ’78 and ’79. Moore was drafted by the Seattle Supersonics in the second round of the ’79 NBA Draft and was traded to the Spurs for cash considerations. Moore had a very productive, yet short, NBA career.
During his second year with the Spurs, Moore averaged 9.4ppg and 9.6apg. His best statistical season came in ’84-’85 when he averaged a double-double of 12.8ppg and 10apg. In 1984, the Spurs paired Moore in the backcourt with Alvin Robertson. This duo was thought to be the future of the San Antonio Spurs. Unfortunately, fate was not conducive to the Spurs’ plans.
In 1986 Moore was diagnosed with Desert Fever. This disease served to cut Moore’s NBA career short. Desert Fever, also known as the San Joaquin Fever or Valley Fever, is essentially a fungus that causes flu-like symptoms to its victim. Pneumonia often develops from this condition and it can be fatal. Doctors warned Moore of the dangers of his disease but Moore fought through it and made a full recovery. After losing three seasons to the disease, Moore returned to the Spurs to play 53 games in his final season in ’89-’90.
Even with his career cut short, Moore made the Spurs all-time top ten list placing 2nd in assists, 3rd in steals, and 6th in games played. Johnny Moore’s jersey was retired in 1996 for his accomplishments on the court and off. Players like Johnny Moore remind the fans that there are some amazing stories out there. The press likes to jump on the negative stories because they sell, but players like Moore make the headlines for their amazing triumphs in life. Moore still is a symbol of what the human spirit can overcome when faced with grave challenges. Moore conquered his disease and excelled on the basketball court to cement his place as one of your San Antonio Spurs heroes.