Miles Johnson isn’t your average sports enthusiast; he's a passionate advocate for the indomitable human spirit and a living testament to the power of resilience. With a relentless drive to overcome obstacles, matched with an unwavering commitment to his dreams; the Morehouse alumnus has become a beacon of inspiration in the world of sports media as well as for those struggling with common speech disorders and impediments.
A media personality on the rise, Miles Johnson's unique blend of passion, perseverance, and advocacy is changing the game, both on and off the court. Recently, Bleu caught up with Johnson where he shared how a childhood passion transformed into a promising career path, and how he is paving the way for the next generation.
“My love for sports media started in my sophomore year of high school. I would listen to different sports commentators on ESPN and Fox Sports; and would always think to myself, it would be easy to talk about sports on TV, just like in the barbershop - and that initially drew my interest,” said Johnson explaining why sports has always played a part in his life as a former soccer player. However, it wasn’t until Lebron James took the NBA by storm that Johnson had a lightbulb moment. “During my sophomore year, I started to watch basketball more as a big LeBron fan,” said Johnson. “I would get into debates with friends about Jordan vs. LeBron. So then I thought I want to be like Stephen A. Smith or the next big time sports analyst. That was my goal, but the fact that I had a stutter was always in the back of my mind.”
Fast forward to the summer ahead of his junior year in high school, and Miles’ speech impediment which had become increasingly worse, but he would tackle it head on by attending a “stuttering camp” which he says changed his life for the better. “I didn't want to go initially, cause I just wanted to play video games. I ended up still going, and it was eye opening to see kids, all ages with stutters just like me, and they keep persevering every day,” he added explaining the experience was a “turning point” in how he viewed the hand in which he was dealt.
After soaking up the knowledge of three speakers: a chef, a lawyer, and a real estate mogul – all of which had a “profound speech impediment” – Johnson revealed he walked away with the tools needed to rule the world. “The real estate mogul, who's the most successful out of the three, had the most profound speech impediment,” shared Johnson. “He told me that, ‘Stuttering can be an anchor that holds you back or a springboard that propels you forward. It's up to you to choose which lane to pass through.’ After that, Johnson shared he could no longer feel sorry for himself. “Let me see how I can take what God gave me, and apply it to my everyday life.”
There was no turning back for Johnson who seemed to quickly find his stride, snagging interviews with a variety of athletes such as Chris Paul, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Tre Young. “I got invited to NBA All-Star Weekend in Cleveland 2022. That was a full circle moment for me because I was born in Cleveland, then I moved to New York and then to Philadelphia,” Miles shared excitedly, reflecting on his big break in the sports industry.
“I told him [Chris Paul] ‘I'm Miles Johnson, journalism student at Morehouse College,’ and I stuttered really bad. This was in front of established ESPN journalists like Brian Winhorst and Dave McMenamin, all these guys that I would look up to on TV. And Chris Paul looked at me like nothing happened. He answered my question, and then shouted out Morehouse and Maroon Tiger - the school newspaper.”
For Johnson, this was another turning point in his journey. “If somebody like Chris Paul can look at me and not think any differently - he just answers my question - it confirms to me that I CAN effectively communicate.”
In the months following, he would snag an invite to be a host on NBA League Pass – two years in a row as well as a guest sideline reporter for TNT. As a way of paying it forward, Johnson, who is the founder and host of the Real Talk With MJ podcast shared he’d like to open doors for those looking to follow in his footsteps. “A wise person once told me that your success is determined by how many people you are able to bring up. And so, having opportunities to put some of my Morehouse brothers on, like NBA Elite Pass, is the goal.”
In the interim, Johnson, who currently attends NYU, plans to maximize his new zipcode by offering sports coverage across New York, Philadelphia, and many more states on the East Coast.
Prior to hopping off the call, Johnson indulged Bleu with a game of GOAT, answering popular pop culture questions, spanning hip-hop, music, and film.
Circling back to the age old GOAT debate: Michael Jordan or Lebron James?
“LeBron James all day. You cannot tell me anything about LeBron especially because I was born in Cleveland. I didn't really like LeBron that much when he was in Miami, but in 2015, I remember in 2014 [summertime] he came back to Cleveland. He stole my heart there. I feel like he was the best 18 year old, and now he's 38 going on 39 and he's dropping 35, 12 and 9 against Kawhi Leonard and Paul George; all these guys that came in the league years before him or years after him. I know people talk about the rings. But they don't talk about that with Bill Russell. He got 11 and Jordan got 6. So I feel like, LeBron doesn't have to have 6 rings to be the GOAT.”
Who in your opinion is the greatest of all time athlete turned actor?
“That's a good one. I’d have to say The Rock [Dwayne Johnson]. Like he's the staple. I feel like if you're more known for your acting than what you did in sports, like you won. So by far it’s him!”
How about the GOAT sports movie?
“I'm gonna show love to my fellow Morehouse brother, Samuel L. Jackson and say Coach Carter. “
Name the GOAT athlete turned rapper?
“Shout out to Shaquille O’Neal. I know he has some words about Damian Lillard on his tracks. So yeah, I'll say Shaq. He got some bars. He got some bars.”