James Johnson could turn to the Octagon after NBA career (FV Exclusive)

February 27, 2019 12:00 AM
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James Johnson talks about his MMA background, and how he became involved with the sport.

Heat forward James Johnson has another passion outside of basketball, mixed martial arts. He holds a second-degree black belt in Karate and even has a 20-0 kickboxing record. Johnson credits his father for turning him into a fighter at an early age.

“My father was a martial artist,” said Johnson. “And his whole story was like, you know, foster kid; in and out of foster homes. And then picked up the hobby of martial arts, fell in love with it; and installed it in his kids.”

When he’s not on the court running drills, Johnson stays active by continuing to train in MMA. It varies his workout routine and gives him another form of maintaining himself fit. Johnson also brings a bit of everything to his fighting style.

“I have Brazilian jiu-jitsu, my stand up game is nice,” said Johnson. “I’ve been fighting my whole life, so you know; it’s been nothing but training. So how kids these days train basketball all the way up to college, that’s how I was with fighting.”

Even at a late age, some fighters find it hard to leave the octagon; the same way some players in the NBA have stayed on the court. This shows Jonson he could still step into the octagon when he decides to call it a career in the NBA, as Johnson tells FV he would “absolutely” consider it.

“That’s my first love, that’s my first passion; I would love that,” said Johnson, about a possible career in MMA. “The fighter mentality, the fighter heart; it never goes. You know, you still see some guys trying to kick away right now. Chuck Liddell, (Anderson) Silva, you know, you got guys that just can’t get away from the game. Kinda the same for basketball, you know, you see D-Wade. You know everybody thinks he could still play, still have more years in him.”

Johnson is also a fan of boxing, his favorite boxers include Muhammed Ali and Deontay Wilder. He also praises UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones for his accomplishments in the octagon.

“I used to love (Muhammed) Ali,” said Johnson. “The way he moved, the way he flowed; the way he wen’t about his fights. All-time would have to be (Deontay) Wilder. But (Jon) “Bones” Jones, when it comes to that fighting; he’s untouchable.”


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