Friendship between Johnson, Okafor deeper than basketball

Sixers rookie center Jahlil Okafor has made headlines for the wrong reasons this season, but he is one of Detroit Pistons rookie Stanley Johnson’s best friends.

Johnson said Friday morning he has known Okafor since he was “7 or 8 years old,” and he used to hate him because Okafor’s team always beat his.

The Pistons beat the 76ers, 107-95, Friday night.

But the two 19-year-olds have grown close through the years and Okafor attended the funeral of Johnson’s mother this summer after she died of cancer.

“His dad is like my uncle … and my mom was like his second mother,” Johnson said. “His mother has passed away as well. We’ve been friends for the longest time, and he’s like one my best friends and brothers in the world.”

Okafor visited with Johnson in California the entire week around the funeral.

“I took it hard and he was taking it just as hard as I was and so did his family,” Johnson said. “It’s almost the same family.

“Him having gone through it before … it was easier on me because I have someone who understands what I’m feeling and stuff like that.”

Okafor was suspended for two games earlier this season after TMZ released two videos of him in altercations with fans.

 

By: Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press

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