Monday, February 28, 2011

Thanks For Everything Clinton!!

Let's get something straight. The reason for Clinton Portis' recent release from the Washington Redskins had very little to do with his lack of work ethic or production. It had everything to do with health and money.

Clinton Portis was on contract to make $8.3 million next season. Portis only played in 13 games over the past two injury plagued seasons. At that price, it just would not be worth it. The Redskins would be taking to big of a financial hit to risk on a 29 year old (30 year old on Sept 30th) running back.

I think we all can agree that Portis just can not run like he used to. The crafty and fiery running back from the magical 2005 playoff run just is not quite there anymore. Ever since he suffered a concussion against the Atlanta Falcons in 2009 sidelined him for the final 8 games of the season. Enter Mike Shanahan and looked as if Clinton Portis would return as an elite. His body had other plans, however. After suffering a groin and an abdominal injury sidelined him for all but 5 games in 2010, it looked as if maybe his career as a Redskin was grim.

But let's look at the positives, shall we? Clinton Portis gave Washington an incredible 5 years. His comedic style during press conferences were always entertaining. How could we forget "Coach Hanky Spanky" or "Southeast Jerome"? My point is, he may not have always had the best work ethic, but he sure knew how to lighten the mood when needed. In 2005, Portis gave us a playoff run that we will never forget. Who can forget when he scored in the games following Sean Taylors death in 2007 when he pulled up his jersey revealing the Sean Taylor tribute shirt. Let's also not forget his ever so graceful cartwheel in the end zone following one of his signature plunges into the end zone.

Don't expect Portis to be completely done with football yet. I'm sure he will be signed somewhere in the league by this fall (as most former Redskins are these days).

So thank you Clinton Portis for all the you gave the nations capital. You gave us the worst of times and the best of times. You showed us what it's like to have a winning football team on the field. Good luck with the rest of your career. Thank you for all the memories.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

And the winnner is...

Not Blake Griffin. Not JaVale McGee. The winner of last nights Slam Dunk Contest was Kenny Smith (Griffins slam dunk "coach"). Let me tell you why...

Let me just say now that that was one of the best slam dunk contests that we have seen in a while. Each contestant brought a new and exciting dunk to the table. It was fun to watch and was worth staying up for. Seeing Serge Ibaka take off from the free throw line and throw it down was amazing (even though he only scored a 45 out of 50). We witnessed JaVale McGee dunk not one, not just two, but THREE basketballs at once. Also, watching Serge Ibaka retrieve that little boys teddy bear was heart warming.

But Kenny Smith was the real winner last night. If you judge the competition based on DUNKS (because it is a slam dunk competition), JaVale McGee should have won. But since they leave the finals up to the fans, there was no doubt who was going to win. Griffin did not do anything impressive. He jumped over the hood of a car and dunked the ball. He didn't do a windmill or any other special dunk. Just a boring every night two handed stuff. What made it impressive, was Kenny Smith. He arranged to have the car brought in and arranged to have the gospel choir come and sing "I Believe I Can Fly".

Are you kidding? How cheesy can you get? The car was cool. The choir was interesting. But the song choice? Really? Whatever. Back to the dunk (because that's what the competition was...a DUNK contest). Blake Griffin showed off little athletic ability. Every NBA player should be able to jump over the hood of a 2011 Kia Optima. At least JaVale McGee did something interesting with his final dunk.

So congratulations to Kenny Smith. He put on a great show. Since it's a fan vote in the final round, it really does not matter how cool the dunk itself is. It's all about presentation. Take the car and choir away and Blake Griffin had just about the lamest dunk ever done in a slam dunk competition. He had great dunks in the first 2 rounds. His Vince Carter impression was unbelievable. But the final round had little to do with his athletic ability. It had everything to do with presentation.