Ivan Johnson, a power forward rookie for the Atlanta Hawks and former CSUSB student has recently made quite a splash of the bench in a Jan. 5 victory against the Miami Heat.
Fans and critics are already calling him “Ivan the Terrible,” and his overly impressive game has definitely sparked a bit of media buzz. Fans are anxiously waiting to find out just who this bearded rookie is, where he came from and exactly what he can do.
The Texas native contributed 13 points and four rebounds in his first game against a team whom many people consider to be the best in the league.Johnson played with much confidence and focus in the game.
During the fourth quarter with about 11 minutes left, he wowed the crowd by hitting a quick jumper directly in the face of Heat forward Chris Bosh. The shot followed a score by Heat guard Mario Chalmers which might have otherwise become a momentum shifting basket.
Twenty seconds after Chalmers field goal, Johnson drove to the paint and converted a powerful layup. The crowd went wild as he then proceeded to sink two clutch free throws which gave the Hawks a 75-71 advantage late in the game.
The game went into to triple overtime before the Hawks ultimately prevailed.
Johnson’s play left many people, including future hall-of-famer Charles Barkley, astonished.
Johnson has had quite a journey before entering into the NBA.
He attended three different colleges including, University of Oregon (2005-2006), Los Angeles Southwest Junior College (2004-2005) and Cisco Junior College in Texas (2002-2003) before entering CSUSB in 2006.
In 2007, Johnson continued his basketball career in the NBA Development League (D-League) where he traveled overseas to locations such as Korea and Puerto Rico During those years, Johnson never fell short in the scoring department.
Despite his talents, Johnson is known for having a hot head.
While playing in Korea, Johnson flipped off an official and was banned from playing in the Korean Basketball League (KBL). He also received many technical fouls throughout his D-league career.
Johnson is aware of his reputation and has made it clear that he has every intention to change his ways. In a recent interview with theAtlanta Journal Constitution, he vowed to change his temperament.
With his impressive performances so far, fans anticipate seeing more of him on the court. His aggression and fierce competitive spirit leave crowds anticipating what’s next.
Johnson’s story can inspire and motivate young athletes with a love for the game of basketball. Johnson proves to other CSUSB students and players that anyone who works hard can make become successful.
Simply adopting the mentality that it doesn’t matter where you come from, but where you choose to go from there can make the difference.