James Johnson learns about the Heat way the hard way

James Johnson learns about the Heat way the hard way

Not everyone is cut out to be a Miami Heat player. As Udonis Haslem explained “It’s not a job….It’s a lifestyle.” James Johnson learned about it the hard way in 2016 when he came to Miami from Toronto. The Heat demand excellence 365 days a year and no-one gets any discounts.

One of the elements is minimum required conditioning demands the Miami Heat put in front of their players. They measure body fat twice a week and you have to be under 9%. If you don’t make the cut, you don’t play. Yep, that’s not a typo – twice a week. When he arrived from Toronto, Johnson was at 14 % and dropped it to 7% to make the team.

A Heat veteran now, Johnson was cut from training camp as he didn’t meet the conditioning requirements during offseason. Coach Erik Spoelstra explained the situation after the first day of training camp (via The Miami Herald):

“JJ is not here,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said following the Heat first of two practices Tuesday. “He did not meet the requirements that he knew about and we set for him coming into camp. He is still very much a part of our team and we hope to get him back soon. The rest of it is handled in the statement. And we want what’s best for him and hopefully he’ll be back soon.”

Johnson, 32, was dealing with injuries last season and that definitely played a part in his conditioning, but there are no discounts in Miami. At the end of the previous year, Riley and Haslem talked about “slippage in Heat culture” and that it would be addressed. It doesn’t matter if Miami isn’t in the Finals conversation, commitment and excellence are still expected.