Wyoming Native Having Career Year in NBA

Submitted: January 17th, 2017

By, Aaron Groff

Its a Wyoming connection, two thousand miles away. The Cowboy State doesn't often produce NBA talent. Basketball-Reference.com lists just five Wyoming-born players in NBA history. K2's Aaron Groff speaks with Miami Heat Forward and Cheyenne East Alum James Johnson. 

Before he was an NBA veteran, James Johnson was a Cheyenne East basketball star, where he led his team to a state championship. 

(James Johnson): "That game was crazy, but it was my two best friends were on the opposing team. Beating them in the championship. It goes a long way. So i still have the bragging rights.

The journey to where he is now wasn't easy. After playing two years at Wake Forest, and being drafted by the Chicago Bulls in 2009, Johnson bounced around the league - from Chicago to Toronto, Sacrament to Memphis, and back to Toronto. 

(Johnson): "Work hard to get here. You have to work harder to stay. Fun, blessing, ups and downs, but everything that comes with the league. 

Now he's found a home in Miami, having his best season as a professional basketball player. 

He's averaging 12 points and 5 rebounds a game, inspiring the next crop of Wyoming stars.

(Johnson): "Just keep getting better and never be satisfied where you're at. that goes for everyone no matter where you're from."

But even though he's in the league, he's like the rest of us. Unable to resist the Daddy of 'em All. 

(Johnson): "Still come back, Frontier Days. You'll see me out there. The Daddy of 'Em All."

Because Johnson remembers where he's from. 

(Johnson): "I spend my time back at home. You know, I'm honored to come from there."