Basketball & Race, Basketball Racism

What is Tyler Johnson’s race and background?

Tyler Johnson is an NBA player who played his college basketball at Fresno State University. During his four year college career, he had solid averages of 10.4 ppg, 4.8 rebounds per game, 2.4 assists, and 1.1 steals in just 27.9 minutes per game.

After watching him ball in the NBA now over the past several years, a common question that basketball fans ask, is what race is Tyler Johnson? Is he Black or Latino? Maybe he’s part Asian? Not many people were interested in Johnson’s background other than extreme NBA and Mountain West fans until he signed a $50 million  / four year contract with the Miami Heat.

This was after Johnson made it to the big time from the D-League just a few seasons before. Similar to a number of the NBA players we have checked out, people have a lot of questions about Tyler Johnson. When is his birthday? Is he going to marry his fiancé? Is he really bi-racial? And more.

Tyler Johnson’s Basketball Career

Before delving further into Johnson’s ethnic background, it’s worth taking a look at his overall basketball career. Tyler was born on May 7th, 1992, and during his four year college basketball career he started 87 games and played in 127 total. He shot better than 37% from three and 45.6 percent from the field and finished his career with 1,346 points and was named to the All-Mountain West second team. Tyler Johnson would not be drafted in the 2014 NBA Draft; however, he did join the Miami Heat for the 2014 NBA Summer League.

Johnson would go on to sign with the team on August 7th, be waived by October, and would be acquired by the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the D-League. After a series of 10 day contracts with the heat, Johnson would finally be signed to a two year deal in February of that year. During the 2015-16 season, he would fight a fair amount of shoulder pain that ultimately resulted in having to get surgery that kept him out of action until the first round of the NBA Playoffs against the Charlotte Hornets.

Following the 2015-16 NBA season, Johnson became a restricted free agent and received a four-year, $50 million offer from the Brooklyn Nets. Miami had the right to match, and re-signed Johnson. ESPN wrote an article about the chaos of free agency after the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, of which Johnson was clearly in the right place at the right time. For someone that struggled early on with his basketball career, Johnson is enjoying the benefits of his hard work now that he’s signed.

In hit first season since signing that contract, Johnson set the record for most points scored by a Heat reserve with notching 32 points on December 20th against the Orlando Magic.

Should we Talk about Tyler Johnson’s Race?

Anymore, it almost feels like many people are simply afraid of bringing up the topic of race or ethnic background for fear of being labeled as a bigot or racist. That’s a bit much in our book, since we have found that sport and more specifically, basketball has served as a great “connector” between people. There are professional players in the NBA from just about any country or area that you can think of, and encouraging dialogue between fans about their favorite (and not so favorite) players is only a good thing in our book. By making the attempt to better understand the background of our favorite players, can only help us to understand each other. If you disagree, that’s ok. We just believe in talking things out to make us all more aware.

What about Tyler Johnson’s Mom and Dad?

Tyler Johnson Mom

Tyler Johnson’s mom’s name is Jennifer Johnson. She is Caucasian and she was in the United States Air Force for much of Tyler’s life obtaining the rank of Master Sergeant.  Tyler Johnson’s dad is Milton Johnson and identifies as African American.

So, What is Tyler Johnson’s Race?

With Tyler Johnson’s dad being African American and mom being Caucasian, he is bi-racial or multi-racial depending on the view one takes with regards to race and ethnic makeup. Similar to many of the NBA and other professional sports athletes that we have looked at here on Interbasket,

Johnson is like many other NBA players where a single label is likely just not appropriate for him like many people growing up in the United States today in our multicultural norm of the United States.

If you would like to check out some of the other players that we have looked at, you can see many of them here:
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are two of the players that always seem to be popular with readers here on Interbasket. If you would like to contribute more to the discussion, feel free to share in the comments section of this article or at our forum.

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