As Stanley Johnson took the podium on Thursday, he took a moment to reflect on what it took to get him drafted to the Detroit Pistons with the 8th pick.
“I came from a family who we didn't have the best coming up, and I remember my mom used to lose meals over letting me eat and not paying certain things, letting me play AAU basketball and taking me to the gym when she was tired after work and stuff like that,” Johnson said.
“To be here and to be able to provide for my family and play for a great organization like the Pistons is everything for me.”
Johnson worked out for the Pistons more than a week ago and came away confident that the Pistons were one of his main possibilities.
“I knew it was right when I went on my visit there,” he said. “I saw the confidence of Detroit versus everybody, and after I saw that, that's what really sold me on the city. I'm excited to be back, back in Detroit again and Coach Van Gundy, he's very positive.
“He reminds me of my coach, they coached together, him and Coach Miller. It's going to be awesome to be in the city with Dre and Reggie. I could go on forever about how positive this moment is.”
Playing for the Pistons will be a new experience for Johnson, but he has an idea of what kind of organization he is getting into.
“I'm used to watching the Pistons when they had Rip Hamilton and Ben Wallace and Tayshaun Prince, who's also still there now,” Johnson said. “I’m used to the Bad Boys and some movies like that.
“I remember the college I was at, we watched that about three or four times this year to bring that attitude to the court. I know there's a couple guys on the team that brought that attitude to the court, so now being able to follow that path with the players that were awesome like that, I'm excited to see that.
“The city is an awesome city. I know the place is in Auburn Hills, close to a nice part of the city, and Downtown Detroit is what it is (laughing), so I'm also about that.”
One thing Johnson hasn’t lacked is confidence.
“Yeah, I'm a competitor,” he said. “In my opinion, we all lace our shoes up the same way, from LeBron all the way down to the lowest guy in the league.
“I think I'm going to be ready to compete versus everybody. I've never been afraid of anybody, never been intimidated, and that's just how I was raised and how I was built.
“I wouldn't have came out of college if I feel like I wasn't ready. Playing Summer League versus LeBron and getting six Finals versus LeBron is going to be two different beasts. I'm understanding of that, but I feel like I'm ready to play.
“Obviously there's going to be a lot of growth and development over the next couple months, getting used to the team and stuff like that. But do I have the foundation to be ready to play right away? I think so.”