Their names are almost identical. They wear the same number, playing the same sport at the same school. They sit across from each other at dinner every night. In fact, if they weren't of the different sex, Isia and Iszia Johnson might be completely indistinguishable.But because Iszia is the star of the Auburn (Wash.) High boys basketball team and Isia of the Auburn girls basketball team, the two leading scorers are helping both Trojans teams compete for the South Puget Sound League North title.
According to the Tacoma News Tribune, both brother Iszia, who is a senior, and sister Isia, who is a junior, are part of the uber-athletic Johnson clan, a family of six children, all of whom have first names that start with the letter "I". The initials come thanks to the inspiration and influence of their father, Ishley Johnson, though he and his wife have made it clear that the pair's athletic talent didn't come from their immediate genetic forebears.
"I have no idea where they got their talent," Earlean Johnson told the News Tribune. "We didn't even watch sports."
While both brother and sister root for each other vociferously at their games, they are quick to admit that they are competitive with their familial counterpart and always want to live up to each other, particularly Isia, who openly looks up to her brother as a basketball role model.
"I look at my brother and see how well he does," Isia told the News Tribune. "I want to be better than him. Even though it is really hard, it's what drives me.
"I look up to him. He's my hero."
High school basketball is only the first step in what Iszia hopes will be a lengthy career on the hardwood. The senior is averaging 16.5 points per game as Auburn's captain, and has received interest from a handful of colleges.
His sister, who averages more than 12 points per game herself, might have a brighter future in volleyball, a sport in which her mother thinks she has Olympic potential.
No matter where they go after Auburn, the duo knows that their family will be there supporting them, always surprised at their unexpected athletic accomplishments.
"I'm just so proud," Earlean Johnson told the News Tribune. "Every time I step foot in the gym to watch them, I feel like a star."
- Tacoma News Tribune