Competitive Drive: Shockers legend “Cheese” Johnson bounces back from health scare

Competitive Drive

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Lynbert Johnson’s smile is hard to miss.

“I used to always smile when I played, especially when I dribbled and made somebody fall down and just start laughing,” said Johnson.

It helped him gain the nickname, Cheese, when he was 12 years old growing up in New York.

Johnson would become a household name inside The Roundhouse in the 1970s, where the 6 foot 6 inch forward put up the points and grabbed rebounds in bunches.

From 1975 to 1979, Johnson put up 1,907 points, which currently stands as the fifth most in Wichita State history. His 1,028 rebounds are the third most by a Shocker.

Johnson would take his talents to the NBA for one season, with the Golden State Warriors and play overseas as well.

While he fought to get a bucket or even grab a board on the hardwood, he had to take on a different battle last month.

It all started the day after he returned from a trip to Atlanta, Georgia.

“I was going to watch the Shockers practice that next day, and I felt a little sharp bolt in my chest,” said Johnson. “It was a heart attack, matter of fact, I had four blocked arteries. ”

To fix the problem, Johnson would have to undergo bypass surgery.

“All I remember is coming out seeing my son, who flew in from Atlanta, the mayor was there, Mayor Longwell he came, the police chief came,” said Johnson.

It is that kind of support that Johnson says he’s grateful for.

“You get a lot of fan support here, on and off the court, it’s important,” said Johnson.

Now, the 62-year old Shocker legend is taking things day by day.

“Just like I tell a lot of my friends, going through this surgery, I tell everybody that you have to live in the now because tomorrow is not really promised,” said Johnson.

While Johnson isn’t totally back to full strength yet, he is still able to get out and enjoy things he loves. He was in the crowd Thursday night to see the Shockers beat USF 65-55.


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