James Johnson is an established martial artist and kickboxer who makes the game of tires a pleasure through his competitive edge and accurate presentation of dunks. It’s no news that his broad knowledge of martial arts has made him so much more flexible and efficient than a power/small forward for the NBA’s Miami Heat. Learn more about the details of this phenomenal baller.
James Johnson Bio
The NBA player was born into a family where athletics is highly valued. This is no surprise anyway, as he comes from a Samoan heritage on his mother’s side. The Samoan people are very present in sports like boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, and sumo. The Anoa’i dynasty, who is probably the world’s best in wrestling, is known for its high production of top wrestlers such as Rikishi, Umaga, Yokozuna, Roman Reigns, and The Usos. The Rock, Dwayne Johnson also has a connection to this dynasty through his maternal grandfather.
The Johnson family is rooted in kickboxing and MMA (more on this later). James Patrick Johnson, the striker of the Heat, was born as the middle child of nine children (7 boys and 2 girls) of Willie Johnson, who was a black belt kickboxer, and Vi Johnson, also a professional kickboxer, on February 20, 1987, in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He also has an African-American descent from his father.
Before he became the professional basketball player we know today, he was a martial arts prodigy who was nicknamed “Little Ali” by his parents because of his fast footwork and all-around speed. He also played soccer and did not go into the baskets until the eighth grade. He was undefeated and has a second-degree black belt. In his short martial arts career, he won seven World Karate Championship titles and nine national championships.
James Johnson had his first MMA fight at the age of 18 and was declared the winner after 97 seconds. He defeated Damon Clark, then 31 years old, who later fought professionally. He also set a 21-0 record in kickboxing and would like to be signed to the UFC after his tire career, although he would have done the same after high school if there had been scholarships for kickboxing or mixed martial arts instead of just basketball and football. Nonetheless, he brings his mixed martial arts background to the basketball court and inspires it.
Johnson attended Cheyenne East High School in Cheyenne, Wyoming where he shone on the court. As a junior, he led his team to the 2006 Class 4A State Championship, averaging 28 points and 9 rebounds per game in his senior year. He was ranked a four-star recruit by Rivals.com when he left high school and was also ranked the nation’s #16 small striker and #62 player in 2007.
He enrolled at Wake Forest University, where he played for the Demon Deacons men’s basketball team from 2007 to 2009. During the years he played, he won first and second division awards from All-ACC’s third division team and led the team as a first and second division player on goals and rebound for both seasons. After his second season, Johnson declared his eligibility for the 2009 NBA draft.
NBA Career Stats
He was selected by the Chicago Bulls in the first round (16th overall) of the design. With his selection into the NBA, James Johnson became the second player of Samoan origin to play in the league after Wally Rank in the 1980s.
The Bulls assigned him to the Iowa Energy of the NBA D-League in January 2011 but called him back on February 14, 2011. Johnson was transferred to the Toronto Raptors a few days later and then again to the Sacramento Kings on July 16, 2012. He signed with the Atlanta Hawks on the last day of September 2013 but was recalled 21 days later. Shortly after his resignation he was taken over by the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in November and averaged 18.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.9 steals and 3.4 blocks per game in 10 games with them. After his time with the Vipers, he signed with the Memphis Grizzlies in December, where he remained until July 2014.
On July 17, 2014, Johnson returned to the Raptors for a second assignment. He achieved a career-high of 27 points in the team in February 2015. When the time came for his boat to set sail again, it did so and docked in Miami Heat. James Johnson signed a one-year $4 million contract with the Miami Heat in the summer of 2016. In eight seasons of his career, he played for five teams and was eventually to find his best game and probably mark his longest stay on a team.
With the “Heat” he is doing things he has never done in his career, apparently restoring the trust of the front office and the coaching staff by producing excellent seasons to make up for the less playing time and opportunities he had with his previous teams. Or he finally proves why he was a first-round kicker from Wake Forest in the first round. Even off the bench, he has proven himself to be versatile and has ensured an exceptional and reliable presence in the team.
In his first season with Miami Heat, he completed 76 games that were among the best of his career, averaging 12.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.1 blocks, and 1.0 steals in 27.4 minutes per game. In the 2017-2018 season, Johnson played 73 games, averaging 10.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.8 assists. During his career he has played 547 games, averaging 8.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.1 assists.
In July 2017 he signed a four-year contract with the Miami Heat with a player option for the fourth year.
Salary, Net Worth
Martial arts may be an heirloom for Johnson, but basketball remains his love service. Every job comes with a fair wage, and he gets his pay. His latest deal is a four-year contract with Miami Heat worth $60 million. His net assets have not been disclosed.
James Johnson Family
The Johnson’s are a clan of warriors. As mentioned above, their patriarch Willie, a former Marine, is a sixth-degree black belt. However, this is only a fraction of his accomplishments in the martial arts arena. He is also a seven-time world champion in kickboxing with five worlds and ten national karate titles. He grew up fighting and trained his children in MMA, kickboxing, and Kenpo karate. Willie runs the martial arts studio of J & P in Cheyenne.
His wife is both a black belt holder and a five-time national champion as a competitor. She is a Samoan immigrant who started street fighting as a teenage gang leader of the Krook City Bloods in Oceanside.
The Johnson kids took after their parents well, each of them wearing a black belt to varying degrees. They all also won national titles or became runners-up.
The Heat striker was married to Callie Johnson for two years. After a series of domestic attacks on his wife in 2014, the couple divorced. He has two sons, Harlem and Naymin (born March 9, 2013, whose name he wrote around his neck).
He is 6’8″ (2.03 m) and as such a matchup problem because he can extend his game beyond the three-point line and shoot over smaller defenders or even score against slower opponents within the lane. His body weighs 109 kg (240 lb).