James Johnson Goes Off on Racist American Airlines Employee

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Miami Heat forward James Johnson’s 2018-19 season came to an end when the team was eliminated from the playoffs. Having that additional free time led to an unfortunate travel incident involving a flight he was taking on American Airlines.

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James Johnson Miami Heat

While the particulars on the situation are unclear, Johnson clearly felt that the employee of American Airlines directed racially motivated remarks toward him.

The basis of those comments appear to be directed at Johnson’s status as a first class passenger.

The situation is especially delicate for the Heat, since the team plays its home games in American Airlines Arena. With respect to the company’s situation, the actions of one employee doesn’t reflect its beliefs, but they certainly puts it in an uncomfortable position to discern exactly what happened.

Johnson is certainly more than capable of affording to sit in first class, having signed a four-year, $60 million contract in July 2017. In the 2018-19 season, he was paid $14.4 million by the Heat and is due $15.1 next season.

He also has a player option for the 2020-21 campaign that would pay him just under $15.8 million.

The Heat and Johnson are hoping that he bounces back next season from what was a down year. His season began with a slower-than-expected recovery from offseason surgery that limited him to 55 games. In those contests, he averaged 7.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists.
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Brad Sullivan is a freelance writer for HeatNation.com, having been an avid fan of NBA basketball for more than four decades. During that time, he's watched the Heat evolve from gestation period to expansion team all the way to three-time NBA champions. He'll follow their quest toward again reaching those lofty heights, and do so by offering some perspective along the way.