No one on the Raptors does more for and with the fans off the court than Amir Johnson. The big man Toronto acquired from the Pistons in 2009 has embraced his adopted home and just keeps adding to his long list of things he does to give back to his team’s supporters.
In what has become an annual event, Johnson recently took a large group of lucky fans on a two day extra special journey. It was idea he got when a football player tweeted an offer to buy dinner for everyone at a restaurant.
“The “I Roll With Amir” was an idea I got seeing Chad Ochocinco when he was playing football,” Johnson said. “I think he was playing a team out of town and he went to a restaurant and I guess he tweeted out ‘whoever comes to the restaurant, he’ll buy their food,’ so I just had an idea, why not give the fans a meal when they come to a game and that is where the idea came from.”
— Amir Johnson (@IamAmirJohnson) April 11, 2014
Johnson organized a series of events and contests and the winners were taken out for dinner before heading to a Raptors game followed by a trip to Medieval Times with himself as King the very next night.
“It’s big just letting the fans know they are part of the team,” Johnson said. “They are just as big as players – they are pretty much what makes this team. They have been supporting us since day one, so it is just a token of my appreciation to the fans.”
However, Johnson is more than just a one event kind of guy. The 26-year-old likes to get involved in all kinds of activities with the fans over the course of the entire year and he is up for almost anything that looks like it could be fun.
“A lot of giveaways, a lot of trivia questions and a lot of videos,” Johnson explained. “I do pranks in the street. I join the activities in the city that are going on. The zombie walk, the art shows, the movie festivals, the MTVs, anything that is going on I kind of add myself to it.”
“Just going around the city embracing it, (seeing) how humble and diverse the city is,” Johnson said. “It is a great city.”
Johnson is a huge fan of social media and promotes his contests, giveaways and appearances on twitter and facebook. He is looking for his chance to interact with the community and he is embraced because of it.
“That is how the world moves now,” Johnson said. “Everybody has facebook, twitter and social networking. Its 2014, you pretty much have to get on it because that is the way the world is moving right now. You can’t really do anything without somebody taking a picture or letting it go viral. It could be something small like tripping over a garbage can, people can just love it, so it’s huge.”
It’s fun too. Johnson is still just a big kid at heart. He wants to do stuff, get involved, give back and make other people happy. It’s a big part of why he has become so popular in Toronto.
“I’m a regular (guy) just like everybody else,” Johnson said. “I am not high above anybody else. (Social media) gives you access to anybody you want to talk to and everyone to see. I have a lot of fun. Just to think if I were a kid and I get to see my favorite NBA player and hang out with him that would have been the world to me. I have fun with it. I enjoy myself. I just like seeing the smiles on people’s faces.”
Toronto Raptors Love Being Atlantic Division Champs
“We won the Division, it’s a great thing,” Salmons said. “Us four guys coming over from Sacramento from where we started, from where the Raptors started at the beginning of the season to where we are now, it’s a great thing.”