James Johnson is now one of my favorite NBA players. Drafted #16 overall in this year’s draft, the sophomore from Wake Forest checks in at 6’8″ 235 pounds, making him quite the sturdy power forward. What makes him so exciting to me though starts with this video of him break-dancing while at the rookie photo shoot.
Pretty nice, nothing extraordinary but still dope. Then I found out that Johnson is from Wyoming and I’m more intrigued. Next I learn that he is one of 9 children, that his father Willie is a 6th-degree black belt who used to win karate tournaments under the nom de guerre Tuqik (pronounced Too-Quick). Pretty awesome! But wait, there’s more! Of the 9 children in the family 8 of them are black-belts (including James), with the sole exception his 10 year-old sister Kiandra who is merely a blue belt. Slacker. Add in that James’ mother, Vi, began street fighting as a leader of the Krook City Bloods before switching to tournament fighting, going as Vicious and winning 5 national titles and you have the makings of a totally bad-ass and fun family.
James doesn’t just do all his bruising on the basketball court though, he has a 20-0 record as a kickboxer where his fighting nickname is ”Little Ali” and when he was 18 he fought 31 year old Damond Clark in a MMA fight. That contest lasted all of 90 seconds with Johnson CRUSHING Clark.
Fellow Wake Forest alum and New Orleans Hornets superstar Chris Paul was giving Johnson some ribbing for his fighting telling him,
“I keep hearing about your fighting, but you’re way too big to be a fighter.” Johnson told Paul to stand still directly in front of him, and said, “I’m not going to kick you; I’m that good.” Then he did a roundhouse kick within inches of Paul’s face, causing Paul to step back and say, “O.K., I believe you.”
Basketball may be Johnson’s new career, but “I’m not done fighting,” Johnson said in an interview in 2006, “I think about fighting all the time.”
In the meantime, I’ve found me a new binky. Mental note, keep out of a bench-clearing brawl with the Bulls…