Larry Johnson Reflects on Becoming ‘Grandmama’, Converse Kicks And Winning Titles In Las Vegas

Growing up as a kid, Larry Johnson was one of the coolest people on the planet.

In my pee-brain mind, there was nothing like Larry Johnson. NCAA champion on the UNLV Running Rebels in 1990. The star player on the expansion franchise Charlotte Hornets. (with those dope uniforms). THAT GOLD TOOTH. Cool initials. Arguably the best player on NBA Jam. The possible second coming of Charles Barkley in the flesh. There was nothing LJ could do wrong — even by adopting the nickname Grandmama.

Courtesy of VICE Sports, Larry Johnson reflected on two of his most memorable moments in the early 1990s: his time in Las Vegas, and how one of the most memorable commercial campaigns of all time from Converse ended with wearing a dress and basketball kicks while being referred to as someone’s grandmother.

Before we get to life in Las Vegas, one thing I have to ask … is there any circumstance in the world that in 2015 we could get a superstar athlete to sign onto a similar campaign?

“A big black man, putting on a dress, running and dunking…it’s something to see on TV, right? I was before Madea. I was before Big Mama and all them cats. I was a pioneer in doing that.” — Larry Johnson

Let’s watch Larry Johnson reflect on his life and times in Las Vegas while I think of a possible answer.

My best guesses are Ron Artest, Dennis Rodman, Ricky Williams. They all probably would’ve done it.

In my opinion, we need more Larry Johnson stories, although the one that matters most is how his relationship is currently with Alonzo Mourning…because no duo was better in NBA Jam than LJ and ‘Zo, and they were arguably the second coolest NBA duo in the league behind Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.

That’s the story we need next.

Related: What Was Your Favorite Moment Of The 1988-2002 Charlotte Hornets Era?

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