Larry Johnson was one of the most popular New York Knicks players of the late ’90s, and now he’s back with the team in a front office role, according to a team release (via IamaGM.com):
“The New York Knicks announced today that Larry Johnson has been named Basketball and Business Operations Representative.
“I consider coming back to work for a franchise that I had so much success with a great honor,” Johnson said. “As I move onto the next phase of my career, I have been given an opportunity to touch so many different areas of the organization – helping develop young players, connecting with the community and actively involving myself in the business of basketball. I couldn’t be more excited to get going and learn as much as I can.”
“In this new role, Johnson will work closely with the basketball operations department, focusing on player development; the community relations department, working to support the Garden of Dreams Foundation and on fan development; and the marketing and partnership departments, with involvement in numerous business initiatives.
“The author of perhaps the most famous play in franchise history, “LJ” converted a four-point play with :05.7 remaining en route to a 92-91 victory over the Indiana Pacers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Madison Square Garden on Jun. 5, 1999.”
It’s always nice to hear about a former player getting a shot to continue to work in basketball after his playing days are over, but really, the true purpose of bringing you this news is so we can post LJ’s insane four-point play from Game 3 of the 1999 Eastern Conference Finals.
When I signed with Converse out of college, they told me we were going to do a commercial with me, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. They said they would have me on a gurney sleeping and covered up so you don’t see me. Larry Bird was on one side and Magic Johnson was on the other. They were doctors. They were creating the best basketball player. So then they say we have to name it. Larry Bird was going to say, “His name should be Larry,” and Magic was going to say, “His name should be Johnson.” Then they would go back and forth saying “Larry” and “Johnson.” Then I would raise up. So then I signed with them. Then they come back two months later after I spent the money and bought my mom a house, and they say, “We’ve got another idea. We want to put you in a dress.” That was Grandmama. [Laughs]
SLAM: So, what you’re saying is that wasn’t exactly by choice?
I spent the money so I had to do it, but if they came to be right out college and said, “We want you to do Grandmama,” I would have never done it. [Laughs]
Classic story. Almost as classic as the commercial.
And man, Bird and Magic wore Converse (the Weapon series), you kind of forget that. Before Nike had Michael, Converse used to have everyone. Now Nike has Converse.
Coach Grandmama? Larry Johnson wants to be Chicago assistant.
Johnson was a player for the Knicks when Tim Thibodeau was on Jeff Van Gundy’s staff there, so they have a relationship. However, he may have a hard time beating out former Suns head man Terry Porter for the job.
Thibodeau let Pete Meyers go recently and is looking for a former player to fill that spot on the bench.