The Packer release of the Fila FX-100 was a celebratory event for all the parties involved. Packer and Fila are both commemorating 100 years in the business, and Larry Johnson's 4-point play to beat the Pacers brought it all together for the in store-appearance of the baller who wore the FX-100 for a while during his career. The shop was mobbed and LJ took time to talk and yuk it up with the people whose shoes and boxes he autographed. Before he began bantering and entertaining, he sat down with Freshnessmag to discuss his career and his feelings about the current state of the N.B.A., including this past off-season's most high-profile free agent, LeBron James. Check for the interview after the jump.
Your four point play is the signature moment for your career as a Knick, so what would you say is the next biggest moment you had in you New York career?
LARRY JOHNSON: Making it to the finals in 1999. We didn't put up a great showing, and I was hurt. But making it there was my second biggest moment. I love that Fila and Packer are commemorating such a big moment, as it was a great year in New York.
Congratulations on your degree from UNLV in 2007. What have you done to utilize your degree?
LARRY JOHNSON: Well, my degree is in communications. I got it in case I could use it later if I got behind the camera. I have done some public speaking, but I haven't yet turned that pursuit into a career.
What was the most memorable NCAA game?
LARRY JOHNSON: Well, the Duke National Championship game. Nothing else even comes close to that. My personal memory was a moment when I got open on a break and Anderson Hunt found me. I wanted to dunk it just to put an exclamation point on the game, but I remember laying it up because I really didn't want to miss it. That's how important winning that game was. After winning that game, we were on cloud nine. To be honest, after we won the championship, I really didn't go to class very often, so that's one main reason I went back to get my degree. I made two promises about finishing college: one to my mother and another to George H. Bush.
Do you have any aspirations to do any coaching or scouting?
LARRY JOHNSON: I just turned an assistant coaching position with the Cicago Bulls about a month ago. It was very difficult for me to do because Tom Thibodeau took the job. Jeff Van Gundy and Doc Rivers called me about it, and it was tough to turn down. The main reason I turned down the job was because I want to see my children grow up, and I couldn't handle that responsibility of the day to day position at this time.
Do you have any comments on LeBron going to Miami. Some former players have spoken out about his TV show, "The Decision" and his welcome to Miami, so what are your feelings?
LARRY JOHNSON: Charles Barkley said what he said when he called him a punk. I called a reporter that I used to speak to years ago and I called Barkely a nasty name. I wanted to go off on Michael Jordan too, but he's an owner speaking from an owner's perspective. I also understood the Cleveland owner, as he just lost the best player in the league. This is the best player in the league right now. They criticized his choice to go to Connectucut and go to Miami to the arena when they welcomed him. Barkley was upset that the three players were up on stage dancing. I said this to myself: you got three young black men on stage with music playing and the crowd hollering. They weren't going to just stand there and fold their arms. Our nature is to do our thing. Chris Bosh let out a scream, and that's fine to me. They were just feeling the moment. So, Charles, don't call them punks. He went over to the Rockets to win championships, too. He should have gone to LeBron himself. If it would have been me giving LeBron advice, I would tell him to call Cleveland early to give them a heads up. The TV speacial, the Miami welcome and dancing and yelling is fine to meâ€”I would have done it too.
What's the future hold for Larry Johnson?
LARRY JOHNSON: Well, I turned down that Chicago job. I've also tried Vitamin Water, Hydropower, and some other ventures. My new Grandmama Sweet Tea is my main venture right now. But more than anything, I want to make sure I get my four sons and three daughters taken care of as I move forward.