The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Mourning the Loss of Former Johnny Lee Green

Green played for two NCAA tournament teams at St. John’s from 1991-94. TORCH PHOTO/NICK BELLO

Former St. John’s guard, Lee Green, died from the coronavirus Monday Mar. 24, according to his close friend and former teammate Lamont Middleton. 

The 49-year old Bronx-native was a retired police officer in Brooklyn and a DJ who went by the stage name “El Dorado.” Having no known pre-existing medical issues, Green’s death “really caught everyone off guard,” Brian Mahoney, who coached Green for two years at St. John’s, said. It is believed Green contracted the coronavirus while at an event where he was working as the DJ. 

At St. John’s, Green played for two NCAA tournament teams from 1991-94. He was a member of Lou Carnesecca’s final team and averaged about 2.9 points per game. Ron Linfonte, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine, alluded to Green’s key role on the team. 

“He was our defensive lockdown guy,” Linfonte said. “He could score if he needed to. He was one of the guys who really relished the role of ‘Give me your best player and I’ll lock him down.’ He sacrificed his offense a lot for the good of the team, and he was everybody’s favorite.”

It was always Green’s dream to attend St. John’s and play for the basketball team. He was a Parade All-American at Tolentine High School. After completing a post-graduate year at Cheshire Academy in Connecticut, his dream was fulfilled when he played three years on the St. John’s Men’s Basketball team.

Green remained a fan even after his playing time was up – he recently attended a St. John’s basketball game on Jan. 11, when the men beat DePaul at Madison Square Garden.

Sterling Nunnally, a St. John’s alumnus and friend of Green’s, said his death is crazy. He said he was always smiling when he recently saw him. He always seemed to be healthy, according to Nunnally. 

“To tell you the truth,” Nunnally said, “it’s scary, because it’s like nobody knows what’s going on. You turn around, one day you’re talking to somebody and the next day they’re not there anymore.”

Green made a lifelong impact on the St. John’s community. Mahoney said Green was always a gifted athlete with a very happy personality. 

“We all mourn the loss of a tremendous member of our St. John’s family,” said St. John’s Head Coach Mike Anderson. “He left behind a lasting legacy with his contributions to our basketball program and touched so many lives in his years of service as a police officer in New York City. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”


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About the Contributor
Sydney Denham, Sports Editor
Sydney is a junior English major with a minor in journalism. She first joined the Torch during her freshman year and started as a Staff Writer, then became Assistant Sports Editor. This year, she is serving as the Sports Editor and hopes to recruit more writers for the Sports section who are eager to learn about writing recaps and athlete feature stories. Sydney is excited to design and publish this year's issue of Courtside in collaboration with the other editors. Outside of the Torch, Sydney likes to do photography.  You can reach Sydney at [email protected].

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