ESPN is counting down the best players in the NBA from 500-1. Menacing big man Ivan Johnson ranks 312 on the list.
Johnson played all of last season for the Atlanta Hawks and averaged 6.4 points and 4 rebounds per game. He is one of the few undrafted NBA players to win an NBA Rookie of the Month award (April 2012).
In college, Johnson played basketball for four different institutions including Cisco Junior College in Texas and Los Angeles Southwest Junior College, where he averaged 22.3 points, 12.2 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game as a sophomore. He then transferred to the University of Oregon on a scholarship, but was later forced to leave after his coach refused to extend his scholarship because of Johnson’s alleged anger management issues. He then spent his senior year at Cal State San Bernardino from ’06-’07.
Not selected by any NBA teams in the 2007 draft, Johnson began his professional career in the NBA D-League where he played for the Anaheim Arsenal and Rio Grande Valley Vipers from 2007-08. After that, he played in the Korean Basketball League (KBL) with the Changwon LG Sakers and Jeonju KCC Egis from 2008-2010.
During the final game of the KBL championship series in 2010, Johnson’s alleged anger management issues surfaced once again when he got frustrated and directly gestured the middle-finger at a referee because of a disagreement. Due to his outrageous (yet comical) behavior, Johnson was “banned forever” by the KBL and fined about $4,500.
Johnson signed with the Hawks on Dec. 9, 2011. In May, the NBA fined him $25,000 for gesturing, again with his middle finger, at a Boston Celtics fan following Atlanta’s elimination from the playoffs.
Johnson is currently a free agent.