Fan Spotlight: Season Ticket Member Jeremy Johnson Enjoys Segment On GameOn!
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Ask Timberwolves season ticket member Jeremy Johnson how long he’s been a Wolves fan, and the conversation will turn into some resemblance of visiting Basketball-Reference.com. A die-hard since Day 1, Johnson begins listing off some of his favorites from the inaugural team.
“Doug West—I could probably name the 12-man roster we had,” Johnson said. “Pooh Richardson, Donald Royal. Who could forget him?”
Growing up in Mounds View, Johnson, 34, has essentially seen all the ups and downs throughout the franchise’s history. He took in his first game on Feb. 16, 1990 against the Pacers (he rattled off the date), and he’s been a season ticket holder with the franchise for five years. He’s attended Media Day, was in the stands for Kevin Love’s 30-30 game and, through and through, is a Minnesota sports fan across the board. There’s no sport that goes unwatched, particularly for his fantasy league purposes.
“I’m a die-hard Minnesota [fan], a rube, whatever you want to call it,” Johnson said.
That’s what makes his side hobby so perfect.
Johnson has become a regular on Rod Simons’ GameOn! television show, which airs Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. on Fox's My29. He’s a fantasy sports expert, giving his insights on which moves to make and how to play your lineup throughout the fantasy football and basketball seasons.
For Johnson, a passionate sports fan, it’s the right fit. He does business-to-business non-profit sales during his day job, and being able to talk sports with Simons on a regular basis is dream come true.
“People always say the phrase, ‘If you can live your passion,’ and people talk about taking less money for something they truly, truly enjoy,” Johnson said. “I look at this opportunity like [Timberwolves VP of Fan Experience] Jeff Munneke does with his opportunity with the Wolves. Connecting people with their passion.”
He met Simons through the show, coming to tapings and initially struck up conversations about sports—particularly fantasy leagues. It turned into a friendship that continued to grow to the point where Simons asked if he would be interested in coming on the program for a segment.
“He’s enjoyed it immensely, but he’s helped us a great deal, too,” Simons said. “You can’t do something in your line of work and what I do and jeopardize the integrity of what’s already there. He’s added to what we do, and we’re grateful to have him on.”
Johnson has been on the show for 19 weeks, and he also throws out his fantasy thoughts and ideas through a weekly blog and through his Twitter handle @thegameonguru.
This particular gig allows him to stay close to his sports passion in a professional manner, and it certainly affords him an opportunity to talk Timberwolves both on camera a bit as well as behind the scenes with an equally enthusiastic counterpart.
“The bottom line at the end of the day is we love this basketball team a lot, and we want it to do well,” Simons said. “We love the people that are working behind the scenes that are making it a strong franchise. We share it, which is probably our strongest bond.”
For Johnson, now with a family of his own, balancing the time between work, family and getting to Target Center isn’t always easy. But it’s a commitment he’s hoping to keep in the coming years, even if it means adjusting how many games he attends.
It’s a passion he’s had for almost 25 years, and it’s something he wants to keep. The next step is passing that passion on to the next generation.
“I definitely want to pass that along to my kids and let them experience some of the cool things that I have,” Johnson said. “And ultimately it’s going to be the kids’ choice if I continue.”