Joe Johnson is back in the NBA with the Celtics

Joe Johnson (with BIG3 manager Lisa Leslie) is baaaaaaack!
Photo: Getty Images

It’s been a bit of a pain to watch the NBA for the past couple of weeks. Seven games have been canceled in the past nine days. For the teams that have been able to play, some have been forced to overcome games with less than optimal formations. The Brooklyn Nets have not played since Saturday and in that game they fielded Kessler Edwards, Cameron Thomas, Blake Griffin, Patty Mills and David Duke Jr. (shocking name to read, I know, but I assure you this person is a professional basketball player. 22 years old.)

The Boston Celtics struggled with their squad for tonight’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Both teams are facing the COVID outbreak and in the Celtics’ last game on Monday they were seven players down in the 108-103 defeat to the Philadelphia 76ers.

In response, the Celtics decided to dig into the speakers to play an old school jam. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Celtics have signed twice BIG3 MVP “Iso” Joe Johnson with a 10 day contract. Johnson turned 40 in June and hasn’t played in the NBA since playing five minutes for the Houston Rockets in Game 7 of the 2018 Western Conference Finals.

Johnson joined the BIG3 midfield league in 2019 and has been dominant. He averaged over 20 points per game in each of his two seasons and took down the match winner for the Triplets, coached by Lisa Leslie, in the 2019 championship match.

Iso Joe, back in the NBA. We deserve it. The COVID-19 outbreaks have returned as a reboot of a TV show that no one had asked for. We were all thrilled to be able to get together for the holidays after last year many of us finally learned what lonely people do at Christmas time. We are all now fighting for COVID testing and dreading overseas travel as the Omicron variant has spread across the globe.

However, in panic and fear, an old friend appeared by surprise. Reviewing Johnson in the NBA is like going grocery shopping for your parents and trying to avoid anyone you may know, and then in the alcohol department is an old classmate you would really like to have a conversation with.

If you’re not at least moderately excited at the thought of Iso Joe stepping up and pretending to pump up an NBA court for the first time in three years, or you have a deep resentment of the early 2010s Atlanta Hawks you need to look for a therapy, or the state of the world in 2021 has robbed you of your ability to appreciate anything.

One of the funniest parts of the NBA is the funny players with real nicknames who never really won in a major way. Iso Joe, Fat Lever, Sleepy Floyd, Tractor Traylor, Muggsy Bogues, The Plastic Man – no sports fan should be able to top that list without smiling.

We’ll have one of those guys back for a couple of weeks. Iso Joe, returning to the NBA for the team that chose him and kept him for the whole half of the season. If he does a winning three during the Celtics’ Christmas Day game against the Milwaukee Bucks, that’s positivity enough to get me through to the NFL Championship Game weekend.

Unfortunately, this will delay Johnson’s Hall of Fame eligibility, but this is an emergency, we need professional basketball players as they needed pilots at the end of the season. Independence Day. So thank you, Iso Joe, for your sacrifice and service in this time of crisis, and let us all be Celtics fans for the next 10 days.


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