North Laurel/savage

February 24, 1993

Johnson motivates with basketball

Applause and laughter filled the gym at Forest Ridge Elementary School on Saturday when former Harlem Globetrotter Spencer "Spinny" Johnson entertained about 200 parents and children with his ball-handling skills and motivational message.

"This is great," said Ronald Brown, who brought his 7-year-old daughter, Kimberly, to see Mr. Johnson perform. "He definitely has the kids' attention. This is really great."

Mr. Johnson got children to focus on him with tricks such as juggling three basketballs or balancing a basketball on a key held tightly between his teeth.

Once he had their attention, he talked about the importance of self-esteem, education, respecting others, setting goals, determination, perseverance and remaining drug-free.

During his performance, Mr. Johnson had children and their parents come up and attempt to shoot with their heads, catch a ball behind their back or bounce a basketball off the floor and into the basket. "School is the most important thing in your life," Mr. Johnson told the students. "Ask questions when you don't understand and always do your homework."

A substitute teacher in Montgomery County, Mr. Johnson has worked with Nancy Reagan's Drug Awareness Program and admonishes everyone to "Just Say No!" to drugs.

"Too many kids in this country get involved with alcohol and drugs," he said. Instead of drugs, he encourages young people to "feel good about yourself . . . you are somebody special."

Johnson performs at 100 schools a year and has taken his message as far as California.

A native of Poolesville in Montgomery County, Mr. Johnson graduated from Frederick (County) High School where he went in search of "more playing time." Mr. Johnson received a basketball scholarship to Lock Haven State College in Lock Haven, Pa. Again unhappy with his playing time, he transferred to Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pa., where he was named to the All-American team and earned a degree in psychology.

In addition to the Globetrotters, Mr. Johnson played on teams owned by basketball legends Marques Haynes and Meadowlark Lemon.


*North Laurel: 9700 block of Laurel Way: A vacant apartment door was kicked open between 12:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. Saturday. Nothing was taken.

9500 block of Sylvan Still Road: Someone tried to enter a residence between 9:40 p.m. and 10:50 p.m. Sunday. Pry marks were found on the window.

9100 block of Bourbon St.: Witnesses heard glass being broken in a vacant apartment between 8:55 p.m. and 9:05 p.m. Friday.

9700 block of Barrel House: Someone tried to steal a 1989 Isuzu Trooper between 6:30 p.m. and 9:05 p.m. Friday.

9600 block of Bourbon St.: Someone tried to steal a 1987 Nissan Pathfinder on Friday or Saturday.

9100 block of Tumbleweed Run: Someone tried to steal a 1991 Ford Escort on Friday or Saturday.

9200 block of Livery Lane: Someone tried to steal a 1991 Ford Mustang about 7 a.m. Saturday.

9200 block of Livery Lane: A 1986 Honda Prelude was recovered about 4 a.m. Saturday at a motel, where thieves left it.

9500 block of Sylan Still Road: Someone damaged a door lock oa 1987 Nissan Stanza between 6 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday.

9500 block of Baltimore Ave.: Someone used a paint gun and fired two shots of red paint at a house about 11:15 a.m. Saturday.

7600 block of Woodstream Drive: A mailbox was destroyed about midnight Sunday.

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