In lieu of the return of the Charlotte Hornets, I thought I would pay homage to Larry Johnson who was a star performer for the Hornets. Johnson was one of the most popular NBA players due to his play on the court and his “Grandmama” persona. As a member of the Hornets, Johnson won the NBA Rookie of The Year Award was named an All-Star twice in 1993 and 1995.
Johnson’s game was ahead of its time when it came to the style of play that he presented on the hardwood, and he was one of the first NBA players to receive a lucrative NBA contract. In 1993 Johnson signed a 12-year deal totaling $84 million. After signing the huge contract the injury bug hit Johnson, but he was still able string together a strong run in Charlotte. Prior to injury Johnson was an inside-outside threat at the power forward position. In today’s version of the NBA, power forwards are asked to do what Johnson did twenty years ago.
Johnson teamed with Muggsy Bogues, Dell Curry and Alonzo Mourning. The Hornets were one of the more entertaining teams, and they were handful for teams in the Eastern Conference. The Hornets never won a championship, and they were eventually broken up after an alleged rift between Mourning and Johnson. As a fan it was a sad sight to see a team like the Hornets broken up, but that is always the case when the business side of the NBA and egos take a toll. Many casual NBA fans may not remember Johnson the player, but he was a player who helped transform the power forward position in the NBA. I always think what if back injuries to Johnson and a trade would had never happened. That is always the great unknown when it comes to sports, but what is known is that Larry Johnson was a player in his day.