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Larry Johnson's Shoes

Posted by Matt Terl on August 3, 2010 – 9:48 am

Larry Johnson, despite his reputation as a less-than-loquacious dude, has rapidly established himself as one of the more interesting guys to talk to about the off-the-field aspects of football. He’s a voracious student of NFL history, a former football card collector, and an avid videogame player, and he’s proved willing to chat about all those things.

Also, he’s got these shoes, custom-made through NikeID, black and gold with Truck on the back of the left foot and Stick on the back of the right foot.

People who have played the Madden Football videogame since the 06 version know what the truck stick is — a flick of the right control stick that causes the running back to lower his shoulder and take on a would-be tackler. But that doesn’t immediately explain why it’s on Larry Johnson’s shoes.
“When I was with Dante Hall” on the Chiefs, Johnson explained, “he was the Human Joystick ’cause he was moving fast. But I ain’t got no spin, I ain’t got no juke, I got nothing but straight truck stick.”

Which I figured was probably good, since “Circle Button” would look a lot less dominating on a pair of Nikes than “Truck Stick”. Then again, I asked Willie Parker what his two-word videogame shoe phrase would be, and he went with “X Button,” which is the burst of speed, and that sounds kind of cool.

Mike Sellers demurred — “I couldn’t actually put it on there, ’cause it’d probably be explicit” — and Clinton Portis recused himself from the discussion entirely.

“Uh-uh, that’s Larry’s thing, man,” Portis said. “He’s downhill, he’s a hard runner, so I think it suits.”

(I should also note that I noticed Johnson’s shoes while he was signing a seemingly endless string of autographs, just as he told me months ago that he’d do. Johnson said that he got to pretty much everyone who wanted one, and added, “These people come out here and take their days off, their vacations off, kids take their time from playing Xbox to come out here and watch us play football and get autographs. So we oughtta give it to ’em.”)

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