Sneaker News Goes 1 on 1 With Larry Johnson
As a member of the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels and Charlotte Hornets, Larry Johnson was a beast on the court. A physical power forward with an emphasis on the “power,” LJ took the NBA by storm and was regularly drawing comparisons to a young Charles Barkley. Early into his career with the Hornets, Larry suffered a back injury that would plague him for the rest of his career. While he was never able to recapture the aggressive power game he was well known for early on, Larry wasn’t about to go out without a fight. He reinvented himself on the court, focusing more on his outside shot and all-around game. By the time he was a New York Knick, LJ had developed quite a nice jumper and was able to put in some solid years in NY thanks to his veteran craftiness and ability to adapt to a new style of play.
In fact, the highlight of his career came in those later days with the Knicks, as Larry buried the Pacers in the 1999 Eastern Conference Finals with what has affectionately come to be known as “The 4-Point Play.” Last week, Sneaker News had the pleasure of sitting down with Larry Johnson at the Packer Shoes x Fila FX-100 ’4-Point Play Pack’ release event in Teaneck, New Jersey. Larry was incredibly friendly and eager to talk shop on everything from the FX-100 re-launch, to the 4-point play, to his time at UNLV, and of course, you know we had to ask him some sneaker questions as well. Keep reading for the full interview with LJ and some more pics from the event. And if you’re still looking for a pair of the Packer x Fila FX-100′s, get over to Packer Shoes before they’re all gone.
SN: What’s up LJ? Before we get into the sneakers – since we’re here tonight celebrating the infamous “4-Point Play,” I’ve gotta to ask. Was the 4-point play the the greatest moment of your basketball career?
LJ: Yeah. I mean look – the best moment of my pro career was when I came here (New York) and made the 4-point play. I played for Charlotte for six years and we had a great individual team, but we wasn’t as good as we were when I came here to the Knicks. So to go to the Finals, and be in the entertainment capital of the world, and make that 4-point play… When I hit the 4-point play, Spike jumped into my arms!
SN: It doesn’t get much better than that, huh?
LJ: C’mon man.
SN: That was a defining Knicks moment and in New York you’re still a legend. Does it surprise you to get this kind of love when you come out here to an event like this?
LJ: I’ll tell you this. When I retired, I didn’t come back to New York for maybe five years and when I first came back, the love… It was like, man!
SN: It was like you just hit that shot the night before.
LJ: Yes! Yes! Man, I took New York for granted. These people here know basketball. They know sports and they love them. And I took it for granted. You know, when you’re playing, you don’t really get out. You’re just worrying about getting some sleep and playing. I wasn’t worried about getting in touch and talking with people and knowing what New York is really about. And since I’ve been back, that’s what I’ve been doing.