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Larry Johnson enjoying his role with New York

Enes Kanter

Larry Johnson decided to hang up his basketball shoes in 2001 after 10 years of service in the NBA with the New York Knicks and Charlotte Hornets. And while the former No. 1 overall pick is no longer playing, he is still finding ways to stay involved with the game he loves.

“Right now, my official title is basketball business representative for the New York Knicks, which is a great job,” Johnson said in an interview with the Charlotte Observer. “It keeps me back in the fray with the young guys and I go to every basketball game, and I do most of the public relations myself.”

Johnson, who was hired as New York’s basketball and business operations representative on April 8, 2012, was a force to be reckoned with in the paint. Sadly, though, the Texas native was forced to retire early due to chronic back problems. Nowadays, he helps the Knicks with player development.

“You know what, it keeps me busy and it keeps me back in the game,” Johnson said of his current job. “I was out of the game once I retired for about eight years, so I’m just slowly but surely getting to know the NBA game again, which has changed so much. So that’s where it keeps me right now, and again, it keeps me active with the youngsters.”

When asked if he misses playing in the league, “Grandmama,” as Johnson came to be known, gave an honest reply.

“Not a lot,” Johnson said. “Definitely not playing (laughs). I mean, (Muggsy Bogues) and I talk about that — never miss playing, but the camaraderie of being around the guys, miss that a lot.”