Henry Johnson III, basketball player for the Greenville University Panthers, has been putting in the work and is ready to get after it this season. Johnson is originally from San Bernardino, California, and comes from a family where the game of basketball has seemed to come naturally. Johnson has a few relatives who have played professional basketball. He is related to Brandon Jennings, who played for the Milwaukee Bucks and several other teams during his professional career in the NBA and was one of the top players in his time in the NBA. Johnson is also related to Quinten Richardson, an NBA star who was added to Johnson’s family after marrying his cousin. Besides having some celebrity family members, there is a lot more to know about the person and player that is Henry Johnson III.
For Johnson, basketball has always been a part of life. “I’ve been playing since I was about four years old. When I was growing up, my grandfather bought me my first basketball hoop. Ever since then I’ve been in love with the sport and have been giving it my all. I remember every morning I would wake up around 6 am and go outside to practice on my hoop. I would wake up the whole neighborhood from the bouncing noise coming from the ball. My mom would peek out the door and tell me to get back inside because it was still dark, and the neighbors were still trying to sleep.” His inspiration to play basketball came from none other than one of the greatest to step foot on a court. Johnson said, “My biggest inspiration to follow my passion for basketball was influenced by my favorite NBA player, Kobe Bryant, who retired from the LA Lakers in 2016. Being the fearless player that he was made a great impact on my basketball career. The way he played the game down to his attitude was a big influence for me.”
Johnson went from a kid playing in the driveway and dreaming of playing like Kobe to a junior college student looking for another opportunity to continue playing. During his sophomore year of college, he was presented with that opportunity. “The reason I came to Greenville is that I was recruited by Coach Barber while I was playing basketball at a junior college called LA Harbor College. He came out to California to one of my college games and wanted me to commit right away.” After a year of learning “the system” and the ways of Greenville Panther basketball, Johnson is ready for his senior season.
Johnson has high hopes for this coming season, whatever it may entail. He said, “I know that we are in a pandemic and it’s very dangerous to be in crowds, but I just hope we get a chance to continue playing this season. This is my senior year and to think that I may not have a basketball season is heartbreaking. I think about that every day, but we really can’t do too much besides pray and let God handle it. I would even be satisfied if we only played just a couple of games. I just miss playing and want to have that feeling of being a college athlete again.” Catch Johnson and the Panthers on the court this spring for their season.
Media by Madelyn Stephen.