How Josiah Johnson Became King Of NBA Twitter Jokes

WOODLAND HILLS, Calif .– Josiah Johnson creates most of his jokes in a cozy room tucked away in the back of his Southern California home...


WOODLAND HILLS, Calif .– Josiah Johnson creates most of his jokes in a cozy room tucked away in the back of his Southern California home. There is no complex configuration.

The room’s decor includes a range of sports books, shoe boxes, and a light blue University of California Los Angeles basketball chair from his time playing for the team. A plump brown sofa takes up much of the space. Above is a painting of LeBron James in a Los Angeles Lakers jersey by Rod Benson, a former college basketball player. A photo of late rapper Nipsey Hussle hangs over a bed in a corner.

It’s Johnson’s makeshift office, where he posts most of the memes, funny pictures, and videos he uses to satirize current events in sports and pop culture. His comedic efforts made him one of the most popular personalities on Twitter, with the grip King Josias54.

Johnson sees itself as a humble one-man social media company, where much of the work of watching and posting sports is done with feet raised, iPhone in hand, a comfortable t-shirt. and shorts.

“I just don’t want any frills in the way I function and move,” said Johnson, 39. “At the end of the day, social is what the name implies – just being social. How would you normally talk to your friends? Could it be quite an elaborate setup? No. It’s just a phone wherever you are and being able to use this technology to be able to communicate with the whole world.

Everyone involved with #NBATwitter – the community of hoop fans who celebrate and discuss basketball daily – has come across one of Johnson’s memes. He pokes fun at references from both well-known and obscure movies and TV shows. He has a great ability to find humor even in the most serious situations, as the vaccination status Nets goalie Kyrie Irving or the strained relationship between Ben simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers.

“I’m doing a satire so that they can laugh, but it will also make them think,” Johnson said.

Johnson, who’s black, knows his jokes aren’t for everyone – and he doesn’t care. It often draws on elements of black culture that have not been appropriated and may thus pass over the heads of non-black sports fans. Many of his memes are nuanced references to shows specific to his own interests, such as the drama series “The Wire” or the sports film “White Men Can’t Jump” (his father, Marques Johnson, is in the film). .

“I really just built a dedicated following with people who I really appreciate and who also understand the joke,” said Josiah Johnson. “I’m almost 40, so I do a lot of things from my hallway. And that could be problematic for kids who think of me as an old man. They don’t get a lot of referrals so they don’t understand why people laugh at them.

Locker rooms and film sets characterized Johnson’s youth.

He was a UCLA forward in the early 2000s on teams that included future NBA players like Matt Barnes, Jason Kapono, and Trevor Ariza.

Johnson has always had a unique sense of humor and a great, energetic personality, although he can be reserved and seem almost shy at times, said Steve Lavin, who coached Johnson at UCLA and is now a basketball analyst. college ball. Lavin added that Johnson brought genuine lightness to a high-pressure environment where victory was expected.

“He has nothing to say,” Lavin said. “It could be the look on his face or it could be what he’s thinking. You could tell that the mind was still at work.

Johnson’s father also played for UCLA, under John Wooden in the 1970s, and spent more than a decade in the NBA, primarily with the Bucks and Clippers. The Johnsons were close to the family of Marques Johnson Clippers teammate Norm Nixon and Nixon’s wife, producer and choreographer Debbie Allen. Johnson therefore spent many afternoons on the set of the sitcom “A Different World”, which Allen produced. Johnson’s mother, Jocelyn, was an extra.

These experiences fueled Johnson’s love for entertainment. He co-created the Comedy Central animated sitcom “Legends of Chamberlain Heights”, which ran for two seasons. During the show, Johnson investigated how shows like “South Park,” “Game of Thrones,” and “Insecure” used social media to retain fans and followed this formula to amass nearly 100,000 subscribers on the show. Chamberlain Heights social media page. This was the impetus to generate its own follow-up of over 200,000 accounts across Twitter and Instagram.

Its content has caught the attention of everyone from athletes to filmmakers. LeBron James, whom Johnson has followed closely since learning James sat in his UCLA chair at a high school tournament in 2003, is perhaps one of Johnson’s biggest fans. He often retweeted Johnson’s jokes and mentioned him using the goat emoji, a symbol of greatness. Johnson has one of James’ tweets printed and placed on a shelf.

In 2019, Johnson released a meme depicting NFL players Antonio Brown and Josh Gordon as two characters in the “Get Out” thriller. Jordan Peele, the film’s creator, saw the tweet and replied to it.

“You win, Josiah,” Peele wrote in a tweet Johnson printed on a t-shirt hanging in his closet.

“It really kicked this thing off to where it is,” Johnson said. Peele followed him on Twitter and the two communicated via direct messages. “I just thanked him so much for giving people like me the opportunity to be successful,” Johnson said, later adding, “If I went to my agents and said, ‘Get me a reunion with Jordan Peele, “they would laugh in my face. But if I post a tweet, it can get Jordan Peele’s attention. I can get it to come to me. So that’s the thing that, for the social , really opened my eyes. “

Johnson’s social media content has given rise to many outside opportunities, including a podcast called “Outta Pocket” which he co-hosts on Wave.tv. He also has a role as a writer in the Netflix series “Colin in Black and White”, based on the life of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and produced by Kaepernick and filmmaker Ava DuVernay.

Johnson’s rise coincides with a rise of content creators who post on social media and earn money on almost every aspect of their life. He said he saw situations “in meme form”. When something is happening in sports or pop culture, Johnson knows where to look in his photo album with a few thousand clips and images.

“A lot of times I’m like, ‘Damn, did I just see this?’,” Johnson said. “And it’s like, ‘Yeah, I did it, so everyone else did too. So I have to get it out ASAP.

He became known as much for his speed as his wit.

“Josiah Johnson is one of those people who rightfully stopped the timeline,” TJ Adeshola, who heads the US Sports Division, said on Twitter. “When Josiah has a tweet, it always comes on time. It’s always hilarious. It’s always the perfect time.

Twitter has associated Johnson with brands and is paying him to make appearances on the NBA Twitter show called “NBA Twitter Live,” which the social media company hosts with Turner Sports.

The NBA, with its bold personalities and the resulting drama, sets itself apart from professional sports leagues in the way it has cultivated a fan culture that regularly spawns instant and classic comedic moments widely shared on social media.

“There will always be something funny to understand,” said Tyler Puryear, a close friend of Johnson and another popular social media personality. He is best known by his Twitter handle, Dragonfly Jonez, a tribute to a character from the 90s sitcom “Martin”.

Like Johnson, Puryear has gained notoriety for making fun of almost everything, or anyone, in the NBA news cycle. This comedic element, Puryear said, puts the competitiveness of the sport in perspective.

“You can never lose sight of the fact that it’s just a game. It’s just a sport,” he said. “It’s a bunch of guys in tank tops and shorts throwing a leather pouch at an aluminum ring.”

This view made room for Johnson’s success.

“That’s where he masters this whole Twitter thing, is that he can reach middle ground and pull us in, and make us laugh there,” Puryear said. “And I think that’s the best way to use Twitter.”



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