Assigned Reading: Former Montana star Anthony Johnson looks to end cycle of abuse

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On March 11, 2010 in the Big Sky tournament final, Montana guard Anthony Johnson put forth a performance for the ages in the second half of the Grizzlies’ win over Weber State. With his team down by as much as 22 points (20 at the half), Johnson led the Grizzlies on an incredible comeback by scoring 34 of his 42 points in the second half (and the team’s final 21 points).

What makes the feat all the more amazing is that Johnson did so while struggling with glare caused by the lights in the arena that made it difficult for Johnson to see the rim. The story of how Johnson’s vision became an issue for him began an incredible story written by Jayson Jenks of the Seattle Times on the now-28 year old Johnson, and the cycle of violence he’s hoping to end.

At the age of nine Johnson was severely beaten by his stepfather, with the resulting injuries leading to two separate surgeries on Johnson’s left eye. Now raising a six-month old son with his wife Shaunte, Anthony Johnson aims to ensure that his child will never go through what he did as a youngster.

As much as Anthony wrestled with his childhood, as much as he tried to reconcile it, his past never let go of him. For a long time he didn’t want kids because he was scared of himself.

Some days Shaunte cried and worried that she was the problem. They were married in 2006, but Anthony couldn’t shake his fears. Would he repeat the ills of his childhood? Would he pass on his curse?

He knows the issues of his past will be the issues of his future, and he will have to decide for it to be different. Coldness is in his DNA, and the programming of his childhood will shadow him forever.

The full story can be read here. And highlights of that Big Sky tournament title game can be seen here.