Bigger and Badder But Same Amir

Since Amir Johnson arrived in Toronto he has really embraced it. In fact sometimes the L.A native sounds like he is Canadian. In talking with him about his new more bigger look for the 2011-12 season he sure sounded like one. "Can you tell" Johnson said while flexing his bicep like a WWE Wrestler, " Like I said this summer the beer has been good to me, been drinking a lot of beer and it has been helping my arms." That sounds like most Canadians workout program in the summertime. But Amir Johnson is not looking like that typical Canadian guy and is not sporting any Molson Muscle that you can see. But when getting serious about things Amir talked about the work he put in while he was recovering from surgery on his ankle. "Real talk, I've been hurt all summer and I had chance to work on my body and gain some muscle," Johnson continued "So the injury kind of helped me put on some muscle and then I rehabbed on my foot all summer."

Johnson has had his position on the floor change some what playing more at the center position with move of Andrea Bargnani to the power forward. But be it at 4 or 5 according to Amir it is pretty much the same. "For me, It really doesn't matter 4 or 5, in the mean time your guarding in the same positions on the floor it doesn't matter." Johnson says. In terms of his roll on this team he sees it as the same. "I have the same role which is to play hard, play defence and rebound and block shots and control the defence." Johnson stated. Another thing that has not changed is his chemistry with Jose Calderon. It has been on full display in the Raptors first few games of this new season.

Prior to last night's match-up with Canada and Toronto's own Tristan Thompson I asked Amir for his memories about when he returned to his home in L.A for the first time. "Absolutely man, I remember myself like him being very excited to play in front of family and friends." Johnson continued and talked about the future for Thompson, " Sky is limit for him I think he is going have a bright good year this season." Amir ended up being part of the defensive effort that made it a rough homecoming for Thompson. But there will be many other chances for Thompson as perhaps the most famous Canadian baller of all time said on Twitter. Steve Nash was on Twitter late last night wishing he was able to watch Thompson make his return. He offered some encouragement to Tristan via Twitter " will be back in Toronto showing out for years. Good to get the 1st 1 out the way."

Amir Johnson has made his own impact since coming to Toronto and making it a second home for himself. He has along with Demar DeRozan and when he was here Sonny Weems as the Young Gunz turned Young Onez have reached out and touched a lot of the youth in Toronto. Amir is aware of the impact that the Raptors have on the youth of not just Toronto but across the country. "It's like a cycle and it is big" according to Johnson. We are only at the tip of the iceberg in terms of the impact of the NBA in Canada. Be it Tristan Thompson, Amir Johnson, Demar DeRozan or Steve Nash, Canada's youth have NBA stars that they now get to see on T.V or live down at the ACC. It is something that I as kid growing up never had. Amir said that he is happy to have the NBA Back and I think all of us that love the sport agree with that.

Amir is a little bigger, playing now with the starters but ultimately is the same person on and off the floor that he has been since his arrival in Toronto. Which is a fun loving warrior that gives all he has both on and off the floor. He is an example of someone that has a good balance between working hard and still having fun. Which makes for a pretty good role model even though Charles Barkley says NBA guys are not suppose to be those. If I had a son and he was an Amir Johnson fan and that was his guy, I would be cool with that.

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