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An old memory: Chris Johnson meets Hapoel Jerusalem Israel today


The forward of Hapoel Holon played for the Reds but left the club with a sense of being missed • Today he is the captain of the Purples and one of the pillars of the team • The historic meeting between the teams in the Champions League is a kind of closing circle

The historic meeting that will be held this evening (Wednesday) at the Toto Hall and will bring together Hapoel Holon and Hapoel Jerusalem for the first match between Israeli teams in the history of the FIBA ​​Champions League, and the first in 12 years in total, will be accompanied by great humor as a result of the sporting rivalry between two of the biggest clubs in Israel.

However, along with the rivalry and the sports story, for Chris Johnson, the only player apart from Iti Segev who will step on the floor and wear the uniforms of both teams, the competition will also have a personal meaning and the closing of a circle.

The veteran forward landed in Israel for the first time in the 2018 season and joined the Reds after an impressive career and successful years in the NBA and in Europe, but things did not work out for him in the capital and a series of injuries prevented him from leaving a significant mark, which led to the decision of the Jerusalemites not to continue the contract with him for another season.

For Johnson, the season in the capital was medically challenging due to knee and hand injuries, which led to him playing just 13 league games in the red shirt and logging 19 minutes per night.

For comparison, this season in the purple uniform, the player passed the milestone of 13 games and did it with 28 minutes per game.

The feeling of missing out accompanied many of the people of Hapoel Jerusalem, who saw how over the years, even at an advanced age, the forward who returned to Israel becomes a significant anchor in the sworn rival and a central part of the club's championship last season.

In the interviews he gave over the years, the forward honestly said that he believed he would continue in the capital, but the team called to inform him in the summer that due to his medical condition, they decided to sign another player.

find a home

The Purples who gambled on the player in the summer of 2020 and brought him back to Israel after a season in exile in France gained a leader and a player who became associated with the club.

The club entered last summer after winning the second championship in its history.

His main purpose was to keep the skeleton of the players that swept him to the plate.

To the joy of the Purples, they managed to keep Johnson, one of the pillars of the team ahead of time, when they signed a two-year contract extension with him already in January.


A pillar in Holon, photo: Alan Shiver

"We are happy that Chris has signed. He is one of the significant anchors of the club in the last two seasons, and a club like Hapoel Holon is looking for stability, continuity and players who give their heart and soul for the team. This is exactly what he brings with him," said the team's coach Guy Goodes at the signing ceremony.

When they were sitting in Holon on building and strengthening the team, the question of appointing a new captain came up after the departure of several key players, including captain Guy Pennini and Tyrus Magee.

The solution was quick and easy and Johnson was overwhelmingly elected.

"Choosing Chris is very easy, because he symbolizes everything that Holon the worker looks for in a captain - leadership, work ethic, uncompromising war, constant determination and toughness," said the purples.

"He is the oldest player in the team, but that is not why he is the captain. He is our captain because he brings the right attitude to the field and to the dressing room. Every day he serves as a model for the youngsters - he is the first to arrive at training, works harder than everyone else, never takes a break and never gives up on himself ", Joe Ragland complimented him.

The player who joined Holunia about two and a half years ago quickly became a fan favorite thanks to his easy-going nature and arsenal of skills on the field, which are highly regarded.

Even the fact that he played in the not-too-distant past against the arch-rival didn't hurt the audience's love for him.

Tonight he will meet his ex for a historic meeting in the FIBA ​​Champions League, and write another chapter in his personal history.

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Source: israelhayom

All sports articles on 2023-02-01

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