By LARRY VAUGHT
Chris Johnson can remember when his youngest son, Keldon, was a little boy and would be playing basketball outside — sometimes when the temperature was close to 100 degrees — and had to be forced to quit playing before he would come inside.
“No matter how hot it was, he wanted to keep playing,” Chris Johnson said. “His work ethic was just amazing. We were truly blessed with how hard he wanted to work to be the best player he could be.”
Keldon Johnson’s two older brothers did their part to make him a better player, too.
“They kind of beat up on him in the yard. I would send him right back out if he came in crying and complaining,” Chris Johnson said. “Then one day my oldest son, who is now 23, ended up coming in the house crying. After that, Keldon never came back in crying. I’m still not exactly sure what happened that day.”
After signing with Kentucky, Keldon Johnson admitted the story was true about his brothers beating up on him.
“As I got bigger, I got tougher. I had to have an edge and keep fighting and pushing. They would push me on the ground, walk over top of me. Things like that to try and make me tougher. I had to be tougher,” the UK signee said.
“Dad was not sympathetic at all no matter what they did. He sent me right back outside to play. He never really babied me. He told me to go back out there and keep playing and that I just had to find a way to compete.”
He started playing with them when he was about 7 years old. He had to find a way to compete with them, one reason today he’s a physical player who doesn’t mind a defensive challenge.
“I am definitely the physical player I am today due to playing with my brothers in the back yard. They pushed me around, so now I push other people around. Seems only fair to me,” he laughed and said.