Jones is a son of a gospel singer and was raised in Chicago, IL. He later met DJ Eddie F of Heavy D and The Boyz and signed with Untouchables/LaFace Records, writing hits for Usher and 702. By 1996, he released his debut album, My Heart, which included his hit cover of Stevie Wonder’s 1976 ballad “Knocks Me Off My Feet.”
It wasn’t until 1999, however, that Jones began to establish himself as a true R&B hit maker with his second album, Where I Wanna Be. The album yielded #1 R&B hits such as the title track and “U Know What’s Up” which was produced by Eddie F and Darren Lighty and featured TLC member Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopes. Other hits included “Shorty Got Her Eyes on Me” and “This Luv.” The album went on to sell over one million copies and garnered Jones an American Music Award. In 2000, Jones recorded the song “I’ll Go” for the Love and Basketball soundtrack and received a Black Reel Award nomination. Jones released his third album in 2002, the gold-selling Life Goes On album. It featured the hits “You Know That I Love You” (#16 R&B), “Don’t Leave” featuring G-Wise and “Put Me Down” featuring Styles P.
He released the album, Lyrics the following year on September 28, 2010 under E1 Music. His latest album, Forever was released on July 9, 2013 and includes the singles “Forever” and “Beautiful.”
In 2016, he premiered a new single “Never Let Her Go” featuring David Banner. He went on a promo tour during the Spring of 2017 in honor of the single.
He was born March 1958 in Altoona, Pennsylvania and was one of four children. His high school play during a prep tournament caught the eye of the University of Texas, where he played 4 seasons and was named to the All-Southwest Conference First Team twice. While at UT, he led the SWC in assists in 2 different seasons and holds the record for the most assists in a single game by a SWC player. He handed out 19 assists 2 different times during the 1978-79 season. During his junior year, Texas won the NIT and Johnny was named the tournament MVP.
From UT, he was drafted by the Seattle Super-Sonics and they sold his rights to the Spurs. Johnny played a total of 10 years in the NBA, all with the Spurs. When he finished his career, he was the all-time assist leader in Spurs history, handing out 3,865 assists while appearing in 519 games and averaging 9.4 points, 7.4 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game. He had his best season in 1984-85 when he averaged 12.8 points, 10 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 2.79 steals in 82 games.
Johnny had his number (00) retired by the Spurs, joining an elite group including Avery Johnson, Bruce Bowen, David Robinson, George Gervin, James Silas, Sean Elliott and Tim Duncan.
Since leaving the Spurs, Johnny has been an integral part of the community advocating and coaching youth in the San Antonio and South Texas area. He has coached several ABA (American Basketball Association) teams in Texas and California. Also, Johnny is a Special Education Teacher in the Judson ISD.
Johnny has been dedicated to teaching youth and improving the community since working with the Spurs Community Relations Team from 1988-2003. Whether dealing with young men in the ABA, or young boy’s in middle school, Johnny’s philosophy and mission is always the same. It is one that teaches not only basketball skills, but teaches the players life skills, personal responsibility and helps them foster a positive attitude.
James attended college on a track and field scholarship after lettering in basketball, football and track in high school. After leaving college, he worked as a Warehouse Supervisor/Delivery person, until he joined the U.S. Air Force.
During his USAF career, James served as a Supervisor of Air Freight/Passenger Service, Supply Custodian and as a Customs Inspector during Operation Desert Storm. While stationed at Langley AFB, he served as the airlift specialist for all General Officers assigned to the Tactical Airlift Command (TAC) for 4 years. James played basketball for various Air Force Base teams during his entire Air Force career and won Base championships in 1981 in Turkey, 1984 in Virginia and 1989 in the Philippines.
After his Air Force career, he was hired by the US Postal Service, where his jobs and responsibilities steadily increased. He started as a mail handler, then was promoted to letter carrier and finally on to Customer Service Supervisor, where he helped to open 7 different new post offices around the Las Vegas Valley. During that time, James supervised between 50-200 employees at any given time, and served as a USPS Route Inspector for the Las Vegas region.
James relocated to San Antonio in 2011 and he helped to start the nonprofit, Military Veterans Against Child Abuse. He recently retired from Audie L. Murphy VA Medical Center in the police services division.
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