The NBA is littered with wing players who nosedive in effectiveness once they’ve hit the wrong side of 30. One of the exceptions to that rule is Joe Johnson, who’s played at an eerily consistent level over the last decade.
Johnson’s true shooting percentage has steadied between .517 and .564 since the 2004-2005 season, his career-high coming last season. His production has never been otherworldly, but it’s also rarely wavered, despite approaching 40,000 minutes on his career odometer.
Johnson credits one exercise that’s almost a daily staple for him, even when the team’s on the road, and an exercise most NBA players eschew: Bikram yoga.
“I’m a hot yoga head,” Johnson said Saturday afternoon. “Doing that, you lose anywhere from 600-1000 calories a session. I’ve been pretty much going every day.”
Johnson got started doing yoga during his days with the Atlanta Hawks, crediting Hawks trainer Wally Blase, to lessen the wear and tear on his aging joints. He originally brushed off the suggestion, but when he started missing games due to various injuries, he started going.
“I tried it, and I fell in love with it, I’ve been doing it ever since,” Johnson noted, joking that it’s “pretty much” just him and housewives in yoga studios. He’s tried to get teammates involved, to no avail. “I took (Deron Williams) with me a time or two, but, until you can get over the heat, it’s tough,” Johnson said.
In a profile over the summer, Sports Illustrated spoke with Johnson about his yoga obsession, and we noted that it made him seem like the ultimate Brooklyn hipster. Considering what it’s done to extend his career, hopefully he can bring the rest of his teammates up to speed.