Having grown up in Little Rock, Arkansas during the mid-2000s and later playing for the University of Arkansas Razorbacks men’s basketball team for one season, Golden State Warriors rookie guard Moses Moody has always followed in the footsteps of one particular NBA player.
“When I was young, I watched a lot of Joe Johnson,” Moody said during Warriors Media Day on Monday. “He’s from the city. He’s from Little Rock. He came back every year and played in the Dunbar League. Y’all probably don’t know what that is.”
Moody explained that the former seven-time NBA All-Star returned to his old stomping grounds “every summer and put on tournaments around the city.”
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Over the summer, the Warriors made Moody the 14th overall pick in the 2021 NBA draft, after they used the seventh selection to land Jonathan Kuminga. It’s unclear exactly what kind of role the rookies will have this season, but with Klay Thompson still on the mend and Andrew Wiggins’ situation still in disarray, there may be some room for playing time early in the season for Moody.
Moody: ‘When I Make It, I Want to Be Like Him’
“He was kind of the blueprint, and that was somebody I always looked up to and said when I make it, I want to be like him,” Moody said.
Primarily a score-first two-guard during his playing days, Johnson’s listed height and weight is 6’7″ and 240 pounds, and despite being out of the league for three years now, the now-40-year-old is evidently still staying in game shape. Johnson just finished his second season in the BIG3, after winning the league’s MVP award in 2019 and serving as a captain for the Triplets since joining the squad. There was no BIG3 season in 2020.
Moody is listed at 6’6″ but just 205 pounds, though rookie guards often put on extra muscle weight over their NBA careers.
‘Iso Joe’ Was One of Hawks’ Best Players in 21st Century
Over his 17-year career in the Association, Johnson made seven All-Star teams, all of which came during an eight-season stretch between 2007 and 2014. Johnson was selected 10th overall by the Boston Celtics during the 2001 NBA draft, but was traded to the Phoenix Suns midway through the season.
Johnson was extremely durable over his next three seasons with Phoenix and upped his scoring each year, playing in all 82 games in the 2002-2003, 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 campaigns, while topping out at 17.1 points per contest in 2005. “Big Shot Joe” was then traded to the Atlanta Hawks during the summer of 2005 and he fully hit his stride during the next seven seasons with the franchise.
Johnson ranks in the top-10 all-time for the Hawks in three-pointers (second), points (sixth), assists (sixth) and minutes played (ninth) among other categories. Since he has only been out of the NBA for three years, he isn’t yet eligible for the Basketball Hall of Fame, but Basketball Reference currently lists him with a 50.6% chance to be enshrined, which is just behind LaMarcus Aldridge.
Perhaps Moody will show Dub Nation some flashes of “Iso Joe” – or “Iso Mo”? – during his upcoming rookie campaign, but one spot where Johnson clearly has the youngster beat is in the area of simple name pronunciation. Just ask Kendrick Perkins.