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First Person

Joe Johnson, Hawks Guard

Posted: Tuesday January 23, 2007 11:31AM; Updated: Tuesday January 23, 2007 11:31AM
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Joe Johnson, Hawks Guard.
Joe Johnson, Hawks Guard.
Bill Frakes/SI
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As told to Chris Mannix

On sleeping

The way I see it, if I have a chance to sleep, I'm going to take it. There aren't many places I can't sleep -- I could sleep in a regular chair for hours. But my favorite room in my house is the bedroom. I'm lying down there every chance I get. A nap can be four or five hours.

On the suburban Atlanta home he lives in with two of his cousins and two rottweilers

It used to belong to [former Hawks, current Kings center] Shareef Abdur-Rahim. I took one look at it and knew I wanted it. It's got a great home theater.

On leaving Phoenix for struggling Atlanta before last season

I want to play on winning teams, which was the toughest part of leaving Phoenix. But I don't regret it, and I would do it again. I feel it's going to pay off. With time we can develop something great here.

On being the man in Atlanta

Night in and night out you have to perform. It's hard because I get a lot of attention on the court, and it gets frustrating. In Phoenix you couldn't double-team one guy because we had so many who could score. [Now], I come down the court and there might be a double team coming or a guy waiting underneath the basket. I never imagined it being like that.

On Steve Nash's impact on his game

He's the best thing to happen to my career. I stole moves from him. You know that little hesitation jump shot? I do that now too. He's so poised on the offensive end, and his confidence rubbed off on me.

On his famously quiet demeanor

I think about snapping all the time on the court. I want to snap so bad. But I think about the consequences -- the fine, really -- and I hold back. I don't know what the refs would think if I did go off. They'd probably just stare at me.

On his mother, Diane

My whole life, it was just me and her. She was like a mother and a father. She taught me that I have to work for anything I want, that I have to make sacrifices to be great. And man, could you hear her [cheering] at the gym. Every game she was the loudest person there.

On playing for Team USA in last year's world championship

It was amazing. Losing was tough -- everyone went in thinking we would win -- but it was crazy there in Japan. People were hanging out outside our hotel, taking pictures. We were getting bum-rushed. Crazier there than it is here. It was cool to hang out with guys like LeBron and Carmelo. We played video games together, went shopping. It was like an AAU trip.

THE 6'7", 235-POUND JOHNSON, 25, IS AVERAGING A HAWKS-BEST 24.7 POINTS, 11TH HIGHEST IN THE NBA.

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