Atlanta Hawks star Joe Johnson speaks at All-Star Weekend:

Q: What does it mean for the Hawks to have you here representing the team at the All-Star Game?

Joe Johnson: I think it means a lot, you know, not only to me, but to our organization as well, considering that it’s been such a down past few years for us. It gives us a bright spot, and with Al Horford playing in the Rookie game, that’s a plus — but I think we’ve just got to keep going strong and stay positive and continue in the right direction. I think we’re getting better and better.

Q: Do you find yourself taking a more vocal role as the season winds down and you’re fighting for a playoff spot?

Joe Johnson: I try to just tell guys that we don’t want to get down late April or mid-April and have to win every game trying to fight for a playoff spot when we can take care of our responsibilities now, and then when the time comes, we’ll already be set. It’s tough. You look at our record right now and it’s not great, but we’re still in the playoff race. That’s a good thing. We’ve just got to stay positive and focus in these last thirty-something games of the season.

Q: Is it different for you because you have experienced it before?

Joe Johnson: Yeah, we’ve got a lot of guys who haven’t experienced the playoff atmosphere and I really want them to… it’s such a great feeling, it’s unbelievable. For those guys who haven’t had that experience, I always try to embed it and give them visuals about it.