Childhood & Early Life
Stanley was born Stanley Herbert Johnson Jr., on May 29, 1996, in Anaheim, California, to Karen Taylor and Stanley Johnson Sr. Even though his parents were divorced and his father remarried later, they have played an important part in shaping his career as a top-notch sportsman.
In his initial years, Stanley was raised by his mother, as she had the primary custody. At the age of 7 years, he was overweight and had asthma. Karen made him run suicides, a grueling stop-and-start sprint drill, to increase his stamina.
Stanley graduated high school from 'Mater Dei High School,' a private Catholic co-educational secondary school in Santa Ana, California. He later graduated from the 'University of Arizona,' where he studied on a scholarship.
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Stanley began his sports career in high school. Coached by Gary McKnight, he played at every position, though mostly as a center in his freshman season.
Stanley than became the point guard for the 'Monarchs' during his senior year. He was named to the 'All-USA Boys Basketball Team' and was part of the 2014 'USA Today' first team. He was also named one of the year’s top high-school recruits by 'Rivals.com,' 'Scout.com,' and ‘ESPN.’ Stanley registered four 'CIF State' championship wins in high school.
Over his four seasons at 'Mater Dei,' Stanley’s four consecutive state titles made him the first Californian player to earn that achievement. His performance impressed coach McKnight, who is credited for preparing 70 ‘Division I’ players and eight ‘NBA’ players.
McKnight even claimed that Stanley was one of the best players he had ever worked with.
In his 2014 freshman year at ‘Arizona,’ Stanley played 38 games for the 'Arizona Wildcats' and was named to the first-team 'All-Pac-12.' He won the honor of the 'Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.' He was also named the 'Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year.' Stanley registered an average of 13.8 points, with 6.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.5 steals, in 28.4 minutes per game.
That year, Stanley also played in the 'McDonald's All-American Boys Game,' the 'Jordan Brand Classic,' and the 'Nike Hoop Summit.' On April 23, 2015, he bagged the 11th spot on the ‘ESPN Top 100’ draft board and became part of the ‘NBA’ draft.
Stanley turned down an opportunity to attend a pre-draft workout hosted by the 'Charlotte Hornets.' He was hoping to be selected by the 'Detroit Pistons' or the 'Miami Heat.' Finally, on June 25, 2015, Stanley’s wish came true, and the 'Pistons' drafted him as the eighth overall pick.
On October 27, Stanley registered a win against the 'Atlanta Hawks,' with 7 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists off the bench. Following this, on November 9, he scored 20 points and 7 rebounds but lost to the 'Golden State Warriors.'
On February 4, he came in place of the injured Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and played at shooting guard. He registered a win over the 'New York Knicks' and ended up recording the season’s highest points (22 points). It was his best offensive month of the season. He also had to miss 7 games due to a right-shoulder sprain.
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In December 2016, Stanley played with the 'Grand Rapids Drive' of the 'NBA Development League.' The following year, on March 8, he secured a season-high score of 17 points but lost to the 'Indiana Pacers.' He was named DNP-CD twice that season.
In his 2016–2017 season with the 'Pistons,' Stanley played in a career-high 77 games and scored 10-plus points seven times. He had to miss one game due to a team suspension but was named DNP-CD four times.
On January 30, 2018, Stanley scored 26 points, a career-high score, along with a 125–114 win over the 'Cleveland Cavaliers.'
On November 9, 2018, Stanley ended his stint with the 'Detroit Pistons' with the season’s highest score, 22 points, and a win over the 'Atlanta Hawks.' However, that season, he missed 10 games due to a right hip flexor strain and 2 games because of back spasms.
On February 7, 2019, Stanley was selected by the 'New Orleans Pelicans' through a three-team trade that involved the 'Pistons' and the 'Milwaukee Bucks.' With the 'Pelicans,' he scored in double-figures 17 times that season. On July 11, 2019, Stanley was traded to the 'Toronto Raptors.'
In his career to date, Stanley has earned three gold medals, one each at the 2011 'FIBA Americas Under-16 Championship,' the 2012 'FIBA Under-17 World Championship,' and the 2014 'FIBA Americas Under-18 Championship.'
Family & Personal Life
Stanley got his formative basketball lessons from his mother, who had played college basketball for 'Jackson State' and had been a professional basketball player in Europe for 5 years. She was inducted into the 'Sports Hall of Fame' of ‘Jackson State’ in 2009.
Karen Taylor founded the 'Cal Tigers AAU Club' in an attempt to support Stanley’s career. She also provides him guidance on handling media relations. The two often practice speeches and interviews in their living room.
Stanley grew up spending most of his time with his mother in the gym, practicing 17-foot jumpers. Once, his mother had an accident and broke her leg. During that period, Stanley stayed with his father, while his mother recovered.
Stanley is the stepson of Easter Johnson and has two brothers and two sisters.
Stanley is highly vocal when it comes to expressing his emotions through the media. Once, 'MassLive.com' reporter Jay King asked him why the teams should consider selecting him as part of the draft. He gave a straightforward answer, saying, "Because I'm the best player in the draft."