MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Larry Johnson changed his life of selling drugs on the streets, and now he inspires others to steer clear of crime.
"For me to be where I'm at now - I'm concrete - there is God. It's God, nothing but God," Johnson said.
Johnson started selling drugs when he was 12 years old. He grew up in a Memphis neighborhood infested with gangs and drugs. His father was never a part of his life; he had no positive mentors.
One of the few escapes Johnson had as a child was football.
"I understand how important sports is now for children... something to do keep them out of trouble," Johnson said.
He played in high school and in college, and today he volunteers as a coach for Middle College High School's football team.
As a coach, he gets to teach children about the game of football and he gets to provide them with a positive mentor.
About four years ago, Johnson was hopeless.
"I'd had friends going to jail. I had friends die. I had friends overdosing. I was popping pills (and) smoking weed."
His body started to shut down. Johnson said he knew he needed to drastically change his lifestyle and begin a relationship with God.
"I mean even when I was trying, I went to church but that didn't do anything for me. I had to do it for myself."
After that moment, Johnson became drug-free, dropped almost 100 pounds and now works with the 901 block squad, where he talks with at-risk kids and helps get them out of bad environments.
"You can't just pray to God and say I don't want to do this anymore. You've got to pray and put some actions and try to find another way."
Larry Johnson is a Mid-South Hero. He bettered himself, and now he is making a difference in the lives of others across Memphis and the Mid-South.