Johnson meets with Narvasa; Commissioner accepts import’s apology, TNT import Ivan Johnson on Tuesday personally extended his apologies to PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa three days after being slapped with a lifetime ban.
Johnson threw profanities towards Narvasa after his ejection from TNT’s game against Meralco on Saturday which also merited the former NBA player a P250,000 fine.
“I just want to come in and show him that we met on bad terms. We needed to learn about each other first. It only took a minute to learn about each other. He’s a good person,” said the temperamental Johnson referring to Narvasa in a press conference shortly after the meeting that lasted for only 20 minutes.
“Personally, I figured I need to come here to show him what type of person I am. If you just look at me from the basketball side you’ll never know who I am because it’s two different people. There’s so much emotion in the basketball game you’ll never know who I am. I can say that myself. I’m a totally different person on the court and my passion for the game is way, way up here.” Johnson added.
Narvasa echoed Johnson’s sentiments, saying that the import’s action may have been out of frustration.
“I think I feel the same way about Ivan. I told him we have a lot of similarities. One is I think we always look like we’re angry,” Narvasa said with a laugh.
“He came here on his own volition. He extended his hand and he apologized and I accept. I think it was just frustration also. I told him I understand him. He just wants to win. It’s just borne out of frustration. Nothing was meant intentional or anything personal. It was just spur of the moment,” Narvasa added.
Johnson, who was with his wife Jessica and two sons, was also accompanied by TNT team manager Virgil Villavicencio.
Villavicencio lauded how Johnson handled the situation.
“For us, the best thing was when he came out. Just think of it, you’d apologize to the fans, to the PBA, ask for sorry. That’s big knowing where he’s coming from. And when we talked to him on Sunday because we’re already preparing for the future, about him leaving. Right then and there, he mentioned it again, ‘Can I see the commissioner?’ He really wanted to come over and apologize straight to the commissioner. It was on his own.”
“As early as Sunday evening, he was the one who really asked me if he can see the commissioner and apologize. That’s why when I got here yesterday, that’s basically what I mentioned to commissioner.”
Villavicencio added the TNT organization respects the league’s decision to ban Johnson but the team is also appealing to reduce Johnson’s fine.
Narvasa said the league will announce its final decision on Wednesday.