Wide Receiver, Detroit
Copywriter, T. Scharfenberg | Photographer, H. Garski and S. Adamak | Videographer, C. Wild
If you were watching ESPN Sport Science last October, you saw what a freak of nature Calvin Johnson actually is. Between his 6'5" height and his 6'10" wingspan, he has an 8'8" standing reach. Add in a 45" vertical jump and you've got a guy that can cover over 4,000 cubic feet, all from a standing position. Add it up: Calvin covers an incredible area, more than an average two-car garage.
Calvin was quite the athlete growing up, and was actually serious about playing baseball. His body's abilities are almost certainly part of an astonishing genetic happening, but it says a lot about the work he's put in as well:
"When I went from high school to college, the speed was twice as fast. When I went from college to the league, it was three times as fast. It teaches you that you've got to have your body at a whole other level. To be consistent and productive and good at that level, you've got to be able to condition your body to certain levels."
Calvin's held that mindset for his entire athletic career. In fact, he even showed up to college a couple months early so he could start running and lifting with the team. He definitely wasn't going to show up and not be on the same level with the returning players. Still today, he told us his goal is to keep improving upon his own performance, making each year better than the one before.
Think he can't possibly keep improving? He's set his sights on the ultimate prize: "Every year it's to win the Super Bowl. If you're playing this game, that should be your goal every year. Can't back down off of it, you gotta go through the offseason and prepare like the best, every day. If you're not working at your hardest, somebody else is and somebody's going to overtake you when you come to meet them."
Wanna get in on Calvin's game?
First, get his motivation:
"People always ask you who you look up to, who you want to be like. I feel that's just setting a roof over yourself. Don't worry what everyone else is doing. You keep working hard. You don't stop. You prepare like the best, every day. If you're not working at your hardest, somebody else is and somebody's going to overtake you. You've gotta keep that mindset."
Then get his gear:
New this year is Calvin's personal cleat design. The CJ81 Elite TD combines all of Calvin's demands into one cleat: arch support, strong lockdown, long-lasting comfort, and of course, signature style. "For me it's important to keep your explosion. You're in and out of routes quicker. When you look for a cleat, definitely look for comfort, something that's light and something that looks good. You want something that's fly."
"When it comes to gloves, I'm looking for something that's real tight. I need it tight because I like to feel the ball. The other big thing is being able to open my hands as far as I need to, with no restriction."
And get it here:
"As a kid, Eastbay was the only way for me to see all the new stuff. Being on the cover is cool, just for the fact that it's something I grew up on. I would get stuff every now and again from Eastbay and I still do. To see my face on it years later is humbling and it's an honor to be able to do it. Now I usually don't have a problem finding my size on Eastbay and I get stuff right when it comes out."
Source: ESPN Sport Science. "Sport Science: Calvin Johson." ESPN.com. October 20, 2011.
Latest Athlete Spotlights