Impossible Is Nothing for Orlando Johnson

If you were like me on draft night, you had just one thought upon hearing that the Pacers had acquired Orlando Johnson with the 36th pick of the draft: “Who?”

While that may be the case, that doesn’t mean that Johnson isn’t worthy of donning the Pacers uniform. All it means is that most people don’t have the 411 on him. In an eye-opening article by Bob Kravitz the Indianapolis Star, we learn of who Johnson is — not on the court, but as a person. Then agains, sometimes that knowledge can help us understand the basketball side of things better than just staring blindly at statistics and judging based on raw numbers.

There are many people that are proud to be in the NBA. But there are some who truly comprehend the meaning of the dollars and the hard work it took to get them there. Not many players would be able to claim they understand that more than Orlando. He has lived a transient life, one where he has encountered tragedy after tragedy, obstacle after obstacle, and yet has persevered. His mother was murdered when he was two years old. He lost four family members in a horrific fire when he was six. When he was 11, He lost the grandmother who had cared for him since his mom perished.

And still he worked harder than ever to be successful without seeing himself as a victim.

“There’s people with way worse things that have happened to them,” Johnson said Tuesday. “I definitely have had some shortcomings in my life, but I just keep pushing, you know? Everything happens for a reason. I’m here for a reason. That’s how I believe, and that’s how I’m going to keep on believing.

Bob Williams, Johnson’s coach at the University of California Santa Barbara, has the utmost respect for one of the most impressive players, and men, he has ever taught the game to.

“He never let himself become a victim of his circumstances,” said Bob Williams, Johnson’s coach at UC Santa Barbara. “That’s one of the things that impresses me the most. He’s a man. He’s never let anything slow him down.”

When Orlando describes the adversity he has had to overcome, he said he has found inspiration to a commercial with Gilbert Arenas.

“One of my favorite commercials is that Gilbert Arenas commercial where he’s like, ‘Impossible is nothing.’ That’s how I feel. I feel like if I put my mind to it, I can do it. And that’s why I have the utmost confidence in myself and believe if I just keep doing what I’m doing, I’m going to be OK — and to keep counting my blessings.”

When considering that type of attitude with the blue-collar Pacers and their team mentality, this inspirational player, who I didn’t know of just a couple of weeks ago, may have already become a favorite of mine — without even playing one minute yet.

Tags: Orlando Johnson

  • Jack

    The lack of comments goes to show that no one really knows what to think yet about Orlando.

  • Tim Donahue

    That’s part of it, but to be fair to Tim (Welcome, by the way. Nice work, here.) we kind of buried this very nice piece under a few others that were no more worthy, but just a little more controversial.

    Sorry ’bout that.

  • Tim Gossett

    Hey guys. Jack, in a sense you’re right, no one does know Orlando, but the facts remain that for a team that has had some PR issues in the past (understated), having a guy like Johnson who has a feel good story that is inspiring and yet humble gives good solace to the fact that the Pacers front office are still looking at character along with skills. I realize that doesn’t win you games, but it does win you loyalty in some aspects and can be a major asset as the team tries to broaden their scope in both winning more games and bringing more fans to the Bank. I don’t take offense to the lack of comments at all, but it’s something to think about in regard to the Pacers’ future.

  • gregor t.

    I am a born hoosier and lifetime Pacer fan living in CCNV. I have seen Orlando play in person once, UNLV, and on TV many times(10-12). I got his story from a late game vs Cal when he didnt have a good game. But when i saw him in person against UNLV, he was by far the best player on the court. When the Pacers lose D.Jones after this year i can say we wont lose much because Orlando Johnson is just as good a defender and a better shooter. That is just my opinion, but if i were to pick a player to compare him to it might be Malik Sealy with a three point shot. I cant think of any better praise.