By Peter Richmond
As a fan of the Knicks ever since Phil Jackson donned a uniform, I really, really, really, really, really hope that @TheRealLJ2 is not the real Larry Johnson, former Hornet, former Knick, even though there’s nothing to indicate on his Twitter site that he isn’t. Photographs of the real LJ, and his wife, and pictures of Knicks, and running commentary on Knick games, and the Tweeter’s photo being a shot of Larry Johnson as a Knick — all of it indicates that if the tweeter isn’t the real Larry Johnson, @TheRealLJ2 is an incredibly deft and savvy LJ impersonator.
I do not hope that this is a fake site simply because of what he has tweeted in the last two days, albeit sort of ungrammatically (these are accurate transcriptions): “homosexuality is nothing to fear, I don’t think it belongs in a mans locker room”; “I’m attracted to women, is it ok for me to walk around a women’s locker room naked, and they be naked”; “I don’t Jason Collins personally but he seems like a great guy. Me personally gay men in the locked room would make me uncomfortable”; “Ppl ! this is nothing against Jason or homosexual’s,all I’m saying is this don’t belong in a man’s locker room”, and “I don’t judge anyone!! I have fallen short of the grace of Allah myself, but stop trying to make this acceptable.” (That one got 12 retweets.)
On the Wikipedia page for Larry Johnson the former Knick (“This article may contain wording that promotes the subject in a subjective manner without imparting real information”) I discovered that LJ has recently converted to Islam. The Twitter site includes a posting about how bad it is to eat pork, which, well, it probably is, but, IMHO, not for religious reasons.
The Wiki site makes no mention of the fact that LJ reportedly sired five children by four different women. It does say he once signed a contract with the Charlotte Hornets for $84 million, which at that point was a record-breaker, and appeared in an episode of Family Matters. But none of that is really relevant to my point, I guess.
To be clear: If the tweeter is the real Larry Johnson, he has every constitutional right to air his assertions, although they seem a tad, um, dumb, because they seem to infer that a) when someone sees someone naked, the sight of said nudity is automatically arousing (he has apparently never been to the linemen’s corner in an NFL locker room, or the pitcher’s corner in an MLB locker room); b) that unlike heterosexual men, whose lives comprise balanced appetites, gay men think sex is the be-all and end-all to life, and that the sight of a genital would make them start frothing at the mouth, and quite likely be unable not to pounce upon the possessor of said genital; c) a real “man,” who should be the sole occupant of the inner sanctum of a locker room, is defined as a man capable of impregnating any woman who crosses his radar.
No, to be clear: What worries me, and not just as a Knick fan, is that the team’s website, as of 4/30/13, lists as “Business and Organization Representative” a man named Larry Johnson. And that the Wiki site mentioned that Johnson was now occupying said position. And that whatever that job title actually means, the word “Representative” implies that he is representing to someone, presumably outside of that manly locker room, The New York Knickerbockers.
I may be alone here, but, given recent occurrences, I do not think that he should be representing a basketball team when we seem to be taking the first steps toward turning a very important corner, gender-preference-in-sports-wise. Turning that corner may take decades, and it’s going to be like walking into a hurricane wind, but it’s sort of dumb for a team to be represented by a – excuse my German – Neanderthal. But that’s only if the tweeter is the actual Larry Johnson.
This morning, always (and probably deleteriously to my own career advancement) having always followed the Hippocratic Oath (“First, Do No Harm),” I e-mailed the Knick PR guy and apprised him of the circumstances.
He answered with one word: “Thanks.”
He did not say whether @TheRealLJ2 was Larry Johnson, but then, I hadn’t asked him. I wanted to be, like, a person first, and not a journalist. (Plus, as a journalist, who wants to piss off the PR guys if you need access for your next book?) And I figured that this was the first he’d heard of the situation.
And I really, really, really, really. really want to be believe that the tweeter isn’t the man we knew so humorously as “Grandmamma” in those Converse commercials. Even if I can’t help wondering whether the real LJ knows the grandmammas of those five kids.
So please, Knicks: Track down this imitator, threaten him with a lawsuit, and end this farce. Your “Representative” should not be saddled by the specter of an ignorant imitator haunting your employee. You’re having too cool a season to have an albatross like that hanging around your neck.