Former Chicago Bull Bobby Portis has a reputation as an extremely physical player. Portis plays with a trademark intensity that endeared him to Bulls faithful over his 221 games as a member of the team. That being said, Portis wants to make sure his aggression isn't confused with being a "dirty player".
In Tuesday's Knicks-Lakers game, which the Knicks lost 117-87 at Staples Center, Portis hit Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in the back of the head while trying to contest a layup. Portis was promptly ejected and speculation quickly swirled on Twitter as to whether he was truly going for the ball on the play:
Bobby Portis ejected after smacking KCP across the head... pic.twitter.com/Ju1aoNDXBP— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 8, 2020
Bobby Portis just basically took a full-speed roundhouse swing at KCP on a break as he tried to "block his shot," hit him in the head, sent him flying. KCP lucky he wasn't seriously hurt. Portis was ejected and clearly should've been. What a dangerous cheap shot.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) January 8, 2020
It was announced on Wednesday that Portis was fined $25,000 for the play. That same day Portis took to Twitter to defend himself.
truly apologize to @CaldwellPope on this play..my intent was not to hurt him...was just trying to make a play on the ball...I come to compete everyday and I only know one way to play and that’s to give 100% ... I’m glad he’s ok https://t.co/VXnWE67Gms— Bobby BP Portis (@BPortistime) January 8, 2020
He made sure to let NBA fans know that he plays hard and despite how bad the replay might look, his intention was never to hit or harm Caldwell-Pope in any way. Though Portis received a hefty fine, he was not suspended and was in the starting lineup for the Knicks' Wednesday night game against the Jazz.