April 23, 2010

Ray Johnston: His Story Begins Where Others Would End

Posted: 05:08 PM ET

Here's the story.  Loan officer plays pick-up basketball game...catches the eye of an NBA talent scout...tries out for and makes the Dallas Mavericks.  End of story, right?  For Ray Johnston, that's where it starts.  Shortly after making the team, Johnston learned he had leukemia, and was immediately placed into a coma.  He's come close to death several times while fighting the disease, yet now he's touring with the Ray Johnston Band - and they're really good.

HDNet is following the band around and chronicling Ray's amazing story.  "Ray Johnston Band: Road Diaries" premieres Sunday.  Check out the clip, and read Ray's story below as told to the LKL Blog.


LKL Blog: First things first, how did you become a Dallas Maverick?

Johnston: In 2004, I took the oh so traveled path of going from the loan officer desk, to the Hoop-It-Up 3-on-3 tournament, and had my fingers crossed I'd come out a Dallas Maverick after that.  It was so random.  The Mavericks were just being smart and doing basic PR in their backyard.  Some of the Maverick scouts came out and decided they'd invite 20 of the best they see to an open tryout.  The talent in the competition is really good.  A lot of folks are just home for the summer, but played in college in the Big 12, SEC, Pac 10, or even overseas.

One of the scouts came over to me after I made a flashy play, and they said "We're going to have a free-agent open tryout.  You want to come?"  And I thought someone was pulling my leg.  But turns out he was telling the truth and that was how it all got started.  There were probably 15 tryouts in a 20 day period.  I remember the Chinese team was in town because they were getting ready for the Olympics, or the World Games.  We scrimmaged them about 6 times.  Yao Ming set some mean picks on me.

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Filed under: Health • LKL Web Exclusive • Ray Johnston

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