Memphis Grizzlies Profile on James Johnson: Thing-Happener

James Johnson: thing happener - Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

These words wrote themselves. They sprung to the page unbidden. Oh and the title and all vines are courtesy of @metweetforfood, who might as well have co-wrote this piece. Give her a follow.

No one knows what will happen next. Within the previous statement, the exhilaration and terror of being alive is held. James Johnson shoves this exhilaration into our faces, makes us stare at it, dares us to look away.

We don't know what will happen in the sliver of time after now. We hurtle into the future, each moment to the next, blind. James Johnson throws us there.

Most of the time, that blindness isn't evident. We settle into a comfortable routine - go to work, watch them Grizzlies, complain about the heat in the summer, and act as if each winter brings some degree of the apocalypse to our very doorstep.

James Johnson is that apocalypse, or could be, or maybe he is our savior. But he is definitely not routine. James Johnson makes the extraordinary routine.

But every now and then things happen, things that shake us from our slumber and remind us that really, we have no idea what will happen next. Every child born is a chalice of infinite possibilities. What will they grow up to be, to do, to love? What will they see that we could never dream of? Who will they hurt, and who will hurt them?

This is what watching James Johnson on a basketball court is like. As Whitman said, he contains multitudes.

If James Johnson's career is the plot of LOST, we just found the hatch. Hopefully, there will be more moments like this and this, and less of this or basically anything that happened in Season 6. We can't control what happens next.

How infinite are the possible futures that collectively play basketball under the pen-name James Johnson? Only 3 other players in NBA history have ended 4.7% of possessions with a blocked shot and 3.3% of possessions with a steal through 11 games in a season. James Johnson is either The Dream, or some dude named Scott Meents. That just about sums it up.

Whatever happens next, this moment happened. It was real, and in this moment James Johnson feels like a really, really big thing. I'm rooting for him hard, perhaps harder than any Grizzly ever. After being relegated to the D-League, few guys get a meaningful second chance. Fewer seize it by the throat, stare it in the eyes for a piece, before they dunk it really hard.

We may look back at this moment as the good times, the nearly perfect sliver of time when, if the story had just ended there, it would unfurl into a happy unseen future, like Celine dancing to Nina Simone's "Just In Time" as the camera fades to black. But that's the thing with time. And with James Johnson. Neither are gonna stop. Both will continue to make things happen.

I'm not blind. I know James Johnson will let us down. He will forget our birthday. Even though he said he would call, he'll forget because he was too busy pulling up from three.

There will be hardship with James Johnson. Yes, and gnashing of teeth, and we may pour ashes upon our foreheads, and tear our sackclothes in mourning. And when we need him most, we will plead for him to save us, and he may whisper no. Or he may choose to attempt an absurd wrap-around pass. You know. Whichever.

But we will keep asking. Because down twelve points with less than two minutes is sorta James Johnson's thing.

I call this one: "Go On Get Signed Foda Year Den."

The audacity of this shot (related: no, no, no NO NO NO YESSSS!!!!). Most people see things the way they are and ask, "why?" James Johnson dreams things that never were and asks, "Why not?"

This elegant Vined couplet - in which our hero waives off Mike Conley (with Tim Duncan on him), to instead drive on the Spurs best defender, cross him over, hang, get bumped, hang a bit longer, put on a pot of coffee, check his twitter, AND THEN HIT - can only be named: "I Got This."

That was our Tuesday night. What will tomorrow hold?

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