10 Feb Son of legendary Dr. J deserves own page in annals of black tennis history
When I asked tennis pro Julien Delaine if he knew Bobby Johnson Jr., the sparkle in his eyes told me the question had struck gold.
“Yeah, man!” Julien said excitedly, adding that anyone who hung around the tennis courts at 16th and Kennedy streets in Washington, D.C., had to know Bobby Johnson Jr. and his three sons. They were fixtures on those courts back in the day.
“He taught me how to kick the serve,” Julien said.
The reason I asked was I recently had learned Robert W. Johnson Jr. had passed at age 92. At the time, I knew little about him except he was the son of the legendary Dr. Robert W. (Whirlwind) Johnson, Dr. J., as he was called, who was inducted posthumously into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2009 for his role in breaking the color barrier in professional tennis and helping scores of young black tennis players develop their game.