James Johnson Rumors

All NBA Players

#16
James Johnson
James Johnson
Position: F
Born: 02/20/87
Height: 6-9 / 2.06
Weight:244 lbs. / 111.1 kg.
Salary: $13,734,000
Dwyane Wade has not been able to avoid the calipers during this second chapter with the Miami Heat. He expected nothing less — even as the Heat do. “I’ve had it twice already since I’ve been here,” Wade said of the Heat’s renown body-fat measurements. “But it’s a part of what I need on this team, especially as we get down the stretch. I want to get in better shape to be able to do more things on the floor and I got to get into the shape of this team. It’s a lot of extra work not only that I’m doing. But I see a lot of the guys that have been here that continue to keep doing it. [James Johnson] continues to keep doing it, a lot of guys. It’s just a part of the culture and no one is above that.”
Erik Spoelstra says James Johnson’s role isn’t “dramatically different.” He still wants the 6-9, 250-pound power forward to have the ball in his hands, to create offense for his teammates, to attack the basket at the right moments. That’s a lot of what Johnson did when he helped spearhead the Heat’s 30-11 finish last season before signing a four-year, $60 million deal to stay in Miami last summer. Spoelstra has simply asked Johnson to do what he does in a different way – in an offense with several new wrinkles in it (mainly dribble handoffs) – and in fewer minutes because the roster now includes Kelly Olynyk and rookie Bam Adebayo.
James Johnson, who turns 31 on Feb. 20, says he’s bought in. He just hasn’t had any easy time figuring out how to be as consistently impactful as he was in the second half of last season. But he’s not giving up. “I’m buying in,” Johnson said Friday before he went out and produced five points on four shots with three rebounds and two assists in woeful performance by the Heat’s starters in a loss to the Sixers. “That’s the only way I can describe it. I’m buying in to what our offense needs and to what Coach Spo wants out of me. I think that’s the hardest thing in the NBA, accepting your role and trying to be the best at it. It’s a challenge that I want for myself and I think once I figure it out and break through, it’s just going to make it a lot easier for everybody.”
Did James Johnson feel any different coming off the bench Saturday? “No,” he said. “Just was having bad games previous games. Nobody to blame but myself. But there’s a point in time that you have to look yourself in the mirror and no matter second group, first group, I was playing terrible. I just came with a different energy. My team approached me, coaches approached me. It’s all about responding. It’s how you can respond, how you can bounce back. “[My team] gave me the truth. Sometimes the truth can set you free and I believe it did.”
Miami Heat forward James Johnson, the 6’9”, 250-pound behemoth nicknamed “Bloodsport,” isn’t impressed, either. Johnson’s combat background has been more than chronicled. Both of his parents are black belts. He and all eight of his siblings all hold black belts of varying degrees. Johnson began karate at the age of 4 and, by his 18th birthday, he secured seven world karate titles, nine national crowns, and compiled a sterling 20-0 record as a kickboxer. “You fight your weight class,” Johnson says. “I fought 26-year-olds, I fought 30-year-olds, I fought 16-year-olds, I fought 18 and 19-year-olds when I was 14, 15, 16 years old.”
Amid his ninth year in the league, Johnson’s competitive fighting career has been on pause for nearly a decade. He now spars at his father’s and uncle’s MMA gyms each offseason. It’s the perfect, unique conditioning work to disrupt the monotonous summer of jump shots. No challenger has defeated him. “I’m sure there’s someone out there in this world who can beat me. I haven’t met him yet,” Johnson says. “I’ve been knocked down before. I’ve been knocked out before, but I remember getting back up before that 10-second count and I remember winning that fight.”