Johnny Joestar, also known as "Joe Kid" or "JoJo", was a racing prodigy. However, when waiting in line for a play, the girl he was with convinced him to cut to the front of the line and bribe the bouncers to throw out the youth in the front of the line, who had been waiting through the night. The youth shot Johnny, resulting in his being paralyzed from the waist down and sent to a hospital, where he was physically abused. Having lost all the friends and respect he had earned as a jockey, no one visited him during his stay in the hospital.
Near the beginning of the series Steel Ball Run, Johnny Joestar encountered Gyro Zeppeli and was brought to his feet upon touching Gyro's steel ball. Believing Gyro to be capable of teaching him to walk, Johnny joined the Steel Ball Race and followed him to be trained.