Larry Johnson is known to many as the intimidating basketball player who ran a competitive NBA franchise Charlotte Hornets as a forward in the 1990s. Other people may know his name better because of his tough personality. cook who has appeared in notable shoe commercials as alter ego Grandmama (Johnson dressed in drag as an elderly woman with exceptional basketball skills and athleticism). Finally, a specific niche of young adults who were now the target age of the market when the movie Space Jam (starring Michael Jordan alongside Bugs Bunny) was released in 1996 to best pair it alongside a mishmash. of NBA players who mysteriously lost their basketball powers to comic book aliens. . In addition to Larry Johnson, the motley team of NBA players whose basketball skills were fictitiously zapped by aliens included Charles Barkley, Shawn Bradley, Patrick Ewing, and Mugsy Bogus.
Long before the release of the movie Spam Jam Or The Character Grandmama Selling Shoes, Johnson was making his mark with the University of Nevada – Las Vegas (UNLV) Runnin ‘Rebels where he led the team to their only National Basketball Championship. -ball NCAA in 1990. Larry Johnson, also known as LJ, didn’t join the UNLV Runnin ‘Rebels hoops team right out of high school, and instead the Texas native began his academic career at Odessa College. After playing one season (1988-1989) with junior college in Odessa, Texas, LJ moved to Las Vegas and joined the Runnin ‘Rebels team where he made an immediate impact.
While playing for coach Jerry Tarkanian at UNLV, Johnson had the advantage of playing with two other future NBA players, Greg Anthony and Stacey Augmon (who had the curious nickname “plastic man” due to his unique ability to stretch). The March 1990 Madness Run that Team Rebels rode for the Final Four ended with a match against the much-hyped Duke Blue Devils. In a championship game that the media presented as a showdown between contrasting playing styles, the Duke University team led by Christian Laettner was described as a fundamentally healthy and disciplined team while the team led by Larry Johnson UNLV was called a sports team which had a more physical team. street ball game style. Ultimately, in what was to be a competitive game for the ages, the UNLV Rebels fled with the Championship 103-73 in a game in which the Las Vegas team set NCAA records for the most part. points and the greatest margin of victory in a league game. Larry Johnson collected 22 points and 11 tables in a contest that was largely decided long before the final buzzer.
Larry Johnson’s side would be undefeated in the regular season the following year, posting a 27-0 record before being upset in the Final Four by the Duke Blue Devils who would win successive national championships after being dismantled by the Runnins. ‘Rebels in the first of three consecutive trips to the Championship game.
Larry Johnson was named the All-American first team in each of his two seasons at UNLV and even won the coveted Naismith College Player of the Year award after the 1990-91 season. Interestingly, about twenty years later, LJ still ranks 7th all-time in rebounding and 12th all-time in scoring despite only playing two years and having his numbers compared to many. star players who have posted impressive statistics for the four years of their eligibility. In recognition of his efforts, UNLV retired his number four jersey.