• Marques Johnson was an explosive player, who's also known for his jumpers
  • Ex-teammate Raymond Townsend likens Johnson to Demar DeRozan
  • Johnson is thankful for being healthy at age 65

Former NBA player Marques Johnson follows a traditional ritual on his birthday, showing he could still dunk.

On Monday, he rose and made one on his 65th birthday. But the five-time All-Star admitted that he was more thankful for being healthy at this point.

It is a testament to the dedication that the former Milwaukee Bucks player has been religiously following since invading the NBA in 1977.

“I didn’t think I’d live to see 65 based on the way I was living my life and the counterproductive things I was doing. Here I am 65, healthy as a horse and still able to get off my feet and do some things. That is kind of what it is all about for me,” the Bucks analyst said via The Undefeated.

Johnson played for two other teams in his NBA tenure, having stops with the Los Angeles Clippers and the Golden State Warriors.

However, it was his stint with the UCLA Bruins and the Bucks that stood out. His contributions were feted when both teams retired his jersey number.

UCLA retired his No. 54 jersey in 1996, while the Bucks did the same for his No. 8 jersey on Mar. 24, 2019.

One person who got the chance to play with him is the first Filipino-American NBA player, Raymond Townsend. Both had the chance to play together and the 65-year-old shared some things about the 6-foot-7 cager.

“Tremendous teammate, work ethic unreal. Lived and died in the gym and always. He was one of those believers who lived and drowned in sweat. I was very fortunate that he took me under his wing,” Townsend said when asked by Brian Yalung in an interview with Sports On Air last Feb. 6.

Townsend pointed out the athleticism of Johnson, someone who loved to play above the rim.

Though Johnson was more than a dunker, he also had a decent mid-range shot, a testament to his commitment to becoming a well-rounded stalwart on the court.

“He was just a tremendous athlete. You look at his highlights and what he could do athletically. At 6-foot-7, he played like he was 6-foot-9, played well above the rim, worked on his jumper," Townsend stressed. "And beyond that, he is a great person. I was blessed to be with him, I was with him for three years."

When asked to name a current NBA player that reminds him of Johnson, Townsend singled out DeMar DeRozan of the San Antonio Spurs.

DeMar DeRozan San Antonio Spurs
DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs in action against the Miami Heat during the first half of the preseason game at American Airlines Arena on October 08, 2019 in Miami, Florida. Mark Brown/Getty Images

“I would say Demar Derozan. Because Marques had tremendous midrange. DeRozan could score off you anytime he wants to from mid-range. Marques was that tremendous. DeMar has that explosiveness that Marques had,” the Filipino-American explained.

Above all, Townsend feels that Marques was a physical and passionate player that was hard to stop.

“One thing about him is that he played physical. You couldn’t really manhandle him. He was too strong. A lot of players did not exude that kind of passion. Marques was a passionate player,” he ended as he recalled the good old days with “Quese.”