Linton Johnson III, on his 9th NBA team in 7 seasons, talks about life on the road

Linton Johnson III knows a little bit about traveling. And I’m not talking about any crab dribbles. Johnson has been living out of a suitcase for most of his NBA career, as Orlando is Johnson’s ninth NBA team in seven seasons. After being drafted by his hometown Chicago Bulls in 2003, Johnson has bounced from city to city every year since then. Could you imagine being a 28-year-old who’s lived in a different city every year of your adult life? “I’d have to say that I’ve mastered the lifestyle,” Johnson said. “The first thing I do is I read the daily local paper and I get me a map. I’m the type of guy who can go out and get lost and just find different things. It’s something that I’m used to and it’s always something exciting to learn a new city.” Johnson — a training camp invitee who is a long-shot to make the Magic roster — still calls Chicago his home, but it seems like he’s rarely there during the NBA months. The Magic are keeping him in a hotel during the preseason; some of his previous teams have put him in corporate housing or similar living situations. “You try to become one with the city, like a regular person of the city,” said Johnson, whose lifestyle is much easier because he doesn’t have a wife or kids. “That’s the way you can get the benefits of the city. Each city has something new and special within itself.” A 6-foot-8 forward out of Tulane, Johnson is talented enough to continually garner interest from NBA teams. He played for Chicago last season, including three playoff games against Boston, in which he scored four points in 10 minutes. Because Johnson has moved around so much, he’s made a lot of connections with players who could help him in the future. For instance, Johnson played with Brandon Bass in New Orleans and Vince Carter in New Jersey, and both of those guys have helped Johnson become acquainted in Orlando. For the rest of the Magic, Johnson is glad to be on their side. “It’s always interesting to finally be on the same team as a lot of guys you’ve played against,” Johnson said. “Normally, when you’re playing against a guy you’re only seeing his intense side because you’re battling against him. It’s always interesting to see them in the locker room and seeing what type of character they are off the court.” Like mentioned above, Johnson is a dark horse to make the opening-night roster. But a solid performance in training camp could help Johnson earn a roster spot later in the season if injuries were to hit the Magic and they were looking for some short-term help. Here are some quick-hitters with Johnson: OMD: Who’s the one guy on the Magic you hated playing against the most? Linton Johnson: Vince Carter. I used to have to guard him. Vince is a nightmare for anybody. I’ve actually been in this position twice because I joined him in New Jersey. I was thankful to be on his team then, and now once again. OMD: Out of all the cities you’ve played in, which one was your favorite? LJ: Chicago is my favorite city because I was born and raised there. I know everything about Chicago. But one of the surprising cities that I really enjoyed was Toronto. I was surprised with how much I enjoyed that city. It kind of reminded me of Chicago the way it’s a big city but still has that small-city type of feel at different spots. The downside with Toronto is the tax situation. You have to pay the double tax. That’s one of the main things. So I can see why people don’t like playing there. It’s more off the money. OMD: Being from Chicago, what’d you think of Kanye West’s incident at the VMAs? LJ: Lame. Whack. I even hate him being from Chicago for that, even though he’s a Southsider. That was lame. It was inappropriate. Even the person he was trying to support — Beyonce — disassociated herself with him. You know what it is? It’s a clear example of a guy who never got a lot of attention when he was younger, and now that he’s a success — he is a success — he’s just trying to make up for all the lost time when he wasn’t getting the attention. He’s showing everybody, ‘hey, look at me, I’m somebody.’ As opposed to somebody like, I’m going to say LeBron. LeBron is a guy — I met him about two years ago – he’s a really funny, good guy. He’s a guy who always had the limelight and understands how to deal with it. That was real clownish of Kanye. I’ll say it. I don’t care. OMD: If you could change one thing about the world, what would you change? LJ: Stereotypes. I have a web site, JustFaceReality.com. It’s my web site where we try to fight stereotypes.

Month of Magic Each day leading up to the season, we’ll take a look at the Orlando Magic by featuring a different player, coach, or storyline.
Sept. 28: Training camp beginsSept. 29: Mickael PietrusSept. 30: Anthony JohnsonOct. 1: FlexibilityOct. 2: Linton Johnson III

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily

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