A member of the Wolfpack’s basketball team, Alex Johnson is a self-described go-getter with three career goals: playing basketball, working in sports communication and serving as a mentor for troubled youth. Hear more in this audio slideshow (Photos by Becky Kirkland, N.C. State University Communications, and Mark McIntyre, N.C. State Athletic Media Relations)
“Working with youth, I think – that has become the recent goal that I want to accomplish just because, growing up, I didn’t have someone to look out for me, to mentor me through the good times and bad times. I didn’t have a father figure. It was just my mom and I and my sisters.
“My name is Alex Johnson. I’m from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I got my bachelor’s degree in communications at Cal-State Bakersfield. I came to N.C. State to do a master’s program in family and youth development. Right now I’m a point guard for the N.C. State Wolfpack.
“When I was little they told me, ‘You are too short to play this game. You aren’t fast enough. You’re not athletic.’ I’ve heard this countless times in my life. I just kind of use it as my motivation. I put my hard work in and keep my faith in God.
“I think my mother played a huge role in, you know, motivating me, just from a young age when people would say I couldn’t do things, and she always was rooting me on. She always had my back for everything.
“A story that led to that, which pretty much just motivated me throughout my whole life, was when I was in the sixth grade and I was trying out for a team that was eighth grade and up. I made the first cut, and then I went to the final cut and they cut me. They said they had their point guard. I remember talking to my mom. I was like, ‘I don’t understand. I thought I was good enough to play here.’ And she just said to use it as your motivation to always keep working.
“I’ve always been — you can say — a go-getter, always highly motivated, been the type to just always want to strive for something great.
“I’ve got a couple of career goals: Obviously, I want to play basketball. That’s been my passion since I’ve been little. I have wanted to work maybe behind-the-scenes for ESPN, maybe doing digital work and media. I also want to help troubled youth back in my neighborhood.
“I’ve told myself not to worry – don’t look so far in the future and just live for today. I’ve been happy with the journey so far.”