Peter Socotch

Shaquem and Shaquill Griffin living their best life in "Shaqin It Up"

Shaquem and Shaquill Griffin living their best life in "Shaqin It Up"

The Griffin Twins, Shaquem and Shaquill, are practicing social distancing just like the rest of us. 

As we stay at home to flatten the curve, the brothers had a message for their fans. 

“We want to make sure y’all are keeping a safe distance,” Shaquem said in a video released on their YouTube Channel. "Taking care of each other and looking out for your family— Social distancing is important and not something to be taken lightly. And when this all blows over, let’s have some fun!”

“We just want to be able to push out the best content and keep you guys in high spirits,” Shaquill added. “We just want you all to know that we’re here for you guys.” 

On Sunday, the Griffin Twins released a new episode of “Shaqin It Up,” which catalogs some of their shenanigans off the field. 

Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the brothers took a trip down to Cabo San Lucas Mexico with friends, filled with boat excursions, night club dancing and a boozy scavenger hunt. 

What could go wrong? 

Check out their latest installment in the video below

Seattle Seahawks need a back-up QB, but Jake Luton isn't the answer

Seattle Seahawks need a back-up QB, but Jake Luton isn't the answer

The NFL Draft is looming and the fate of college football athletes will be revealed. Until then, it's a big waiting game. Players are continuing to prepare for the Draft through social distancing workouts and are talking with teams via video chat. 

For the Seattle Seahawks, they've got a lot of tough decisions to make, which includes what they're going to do at back-up quarterback. Right now, no one is slated in that position, which makes the Draft a prime place to fill that position. 

But, who will it be? 

According to Bleacher Report, one QB who could fill that role is Oregon State's Jake Luton. 

General manager John Schneider should take a look at late-round prospects who can develop in the primary reserve spot. As we all know, Wilson can move in and outside the pocket, but he looks to deliver the ball downfield to his receiving options. The Seahawks don't need a dual-threat signal-caller in case the six-time Pro Bowler goes down with an injury.A quarterback who can escape the pocket and feed off the ground attack would likely fare well in Seattle's offense. Jake Luton isn't going to mimic Wilson's mobility, but he knows how to evade pressure and move the ball downfield. 

Last season, Luton passed for 2,714 yards, 28 touchdowns and just three interceptions. The 6'6", 224-pound QB's career has been marred by injury, which is a hurdle he'll have to overcome at any time. And with the inability to meet with teams in person, that injury history may scare teams off. 

The former Beavers QB can certainly complete passes at the next level, but doesn't necessarily fit schematically and stylistically with the Seahawks.

Luton's biggest criticism is his difficulty to connect with players downfield and has a tendency to latch on and force the ball to his top receiver. Wilson's downfield eye and ability to share the wealth across the field would certainly be an uphill battle for Luton to develop into. 

Seattle may benefit more from a quarterback who does emulate Wilson a little more, though, in case he were out for multiple series or an extended period of time. A QB1B option is what every NFL team should look to try and fulfill as to not skip a beat should they be without their franchise quarterback. 

The Beavs QB may benefit more from a system like the New England Patriots or the Denver Broncos. 

Luton would be a serviceable option as a back-up or third string QB in the NFL, but Seattle just doesn't feel right in the pool of quarterbacks that is available to the Seahawks in the upcoming NFL Draft. 

Damian Lillard shares heartfelt message to Dame Jr. on his 2nd birthday

Damian Lillard shares heartfelt message to Dame Jr. on his 2nd birthday

On this day in Trail Blazers history... we welcomed a new addition to Rip City!

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Dame Jr. 🙏🏽

A post shared by Damian Lillard (@damianlillard) on

Damian Lillard and now fiancée Kay’La Hanson greeted Damian, Jr. to the world and since then, he's melted our hearts. 

On this day in Trail Blazers history... we welcomed a new addition to Rip City!

View this post on Instagram

Dame Jr. 🙏🏽

A post shared by Damian Lillard (@damianlillard) on

Damian Lillard and now fiancée Kay’La Hanson greeted Damian, Jr. to the world and since then, he's melted our hearts. 

The two have a very sweet connection. 

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No bond like the father and son !

A post shared by Damian Lillard (@damianlillard) on

And Dame doesn't seem to mind that his son always steals the spotlight!

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#somethingnewchallenge😂😂😂😂

A post shared by Damian Lillard (@damianlillard) on

And on this day, Dame Jr.'s day of birth, Damian Lillard, Sr. shared a series of photos of his son. 

Happy birthday, Dame Jr.!!!

 

Meyers Leonard and his wife Elle gave out their phone numbers

Meyers Leonard and his wife Elle gave out their phone numbers

It's been just over two weeks since the NBA announced the suspension of its season to combat the spread of COVID-19. 

Since the beginning of the hiatus, NBA players have occupied their time by making Tik Tok's, streaming themselves playing video games on Twitch and performed Q&A's on Twitter. 

Humans are social beings, so while everyone practices social distancing, the desire for contact with the outside world, to communicate with others becomes paramount. 

Now, former Trail Blazers big man Meyers Leonard and his wife have taken it one step further: They're giving out their phone numbers and asking you to text them!

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309-328-3605 ... text me.

A post shared by Elle Leonard (@elleleonard) on

“You heard it here first,” Meyers said in a video released on his wife Elle’s instagram page. “We’re both legitimately giving out our phone numbers.”

Sitting side by side, Meyers gave his pitch on why you should text him.

“If you’re looking to have a better tan like me — text me, not her.”

“Text me, because Elle is by far better,” Elle chimed in. “She provides puns and GIFs— all around just better.”

It’s not 100% clear why they’ve decided to take this measure. Maybe they’re just bored?

Meyers’ pitch continued: “Ladies and gentleman, if you’re looking for the greatest content, text me.” 

So, if you've ever wanted a chance to be on texting terms with an NBA player, now's your chance! 

Breaking News: CJ McCollum has run out of Flamin' Hot Cheetos

Breaking News: CJ McCollum has run out of Flamin' Hot Cheetos

Prior to the Center for Disease Control providing guidelines for social distancing and, for some, shelter in place orders, people flocked to grocery stores to stockpile. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has led some to buy up all of the hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, toilet paper and paper towels. 

At grocery stores, some aisles are completely bare in preparations for hunkering down. But, the overbuying of some things has led some to forget about stocking up on other things. 

For CJ McCollum, it's Flamin' Hot Cheetos.

We all have our guilty pleasures. 

For McCollum, in addition to a good Pinot, Flamin' Hot Cheetos are one of them. 

Maybe he ate them too quickly or maybe he didn't get enough. 

The responses were pretty funny:

One of CJ's followers tweeted a bag of Flamin' Hot Cheetos at him. Envy ensued. 

Hopefully a dead drop of Flamin' Hot Cheetos arrives at CJ's doorstep, or it'll be a long quarantine. 

No word on the stockpile of Pinot, though.

Meyers Leonard dubs himself the NBA king on Call of Duty

Meyers Leonard dubs himself the NBA king on Call of Duty

Like many people, NBA players love to play video games.

And during the NBA hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some NBA players have found a way to enjoy that hobby and connect with fans through Twitch live streams. 

If you’re not familiar, people can broadcast themselves playing video games while others can watch. 

Among the players who like participating in this activity are former Trail Blazers big man Meyers Leonard and current Blazer Mario Hezonja. 

On Saturday, SlamOnline hosted a Twitch tournament where NBA players played Call of Duty Modern Warfare, a player favorite.

Participants included Mario Hezonja, Utah Jazz's Donovan Mitchell and Royce O'Neale, 76ers' Ben Simmons, Bulls' Zach LaVine and Pelicans' Josh Hart.  

Here’s a few highlights:

When all was said and done, here were the final results:

Yet, despite having more kills and fewer deaths, Meyers wasn’t named the MVP of the tournament. Ben Simons was… 

Meyers, rightfully so, questioned the results:

And he had a lot of people on his side:

In response, Meyers shared this photo:

It was an entertaining stream and hopefully not the last we’ll see of the two sharp shooters. 

It’s the re-match we all deserve to see play out on the battlefield. 

How to Watch: Trail Blazers vs. 76ers 1977 NBA Finals Game 6 at 4pm

How to Watch: Trail Blazers vs. 76ers 1977 NBA Finals Game 6 at 4pm

June 5th, 1977.

The electricity is in the air in Portland, Oregon was fueled by BlazerMania!

It was Game 6 of the 1977 Championship and the Trail Blazers were one game away from hoisting the Walter A. Brown Trophy. 

After a 49-33 record during the regular season and a three-seed in the Western Conference, the Trail Blazers, led by first-year Jack Ramsey, which became a franchise in 1970, were in their first-ever playoff appearance.

In the first round, they defeated the Chicago Bulls after a series clinching shot by Lionel Hollins. 

In the second round, they downed a formidable Denver Nuggets team. 

The Blazers handled the No. 1 Lakers 4-0 in the conference championship, as the Blazers would get their first-ever shot at an NBA Championship.

The Philadelphia 76ers were the only team to stand in their way. 

In Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the Trail Blazers committed 34 turnovers and lost.
They got blown out in Game 2. Maurice Lucas and Darryl Dawkins were ejected in that game after benches cleared. Lucas slapped Dawkins from behind after Dawkins and Bob Gross both went up for a rebound and wrestled each other to the floor. Lucas and Dawkins were ejected from the game. Philadelphia’s Doug Collins received four stitches after he caught a missed punch from Dawkins.

Down 2-0, one would think the road to an NBA title would be bleak. Momentum was on the 76ers side. 

But, this Trail Blazers team was a team of destiny. 

The Trail Blazers stormed back and won both games at home to tie the series at two games apiece. They went back to Philly and defeated the 76ers in Game 5. 

After arriving back in Portland, the Blazers were met by over 5,000 fans at the airport. 

And on a sunny Sunday afternoon, Game 6 tipped off in the Memorial Coliseum.

You know what happens next…

Starters:

Philadelphia

  • Julius Irving
  • George McGinnis
  • Doug Collins
  • Henry Bibby
  • Caldwell Jones

Portland

  • Lionel Hollins
  • Bill Walton 
  • Bob Gross
  • Maurice Lucas
  • Johnny Davis

NBC Sports Northwest is airing 12 Trail Blazers Classic Games over the next few weeks. 

WHEN: Sunday, March 22nd at 4pm

Channel: NBC Sports Northwest, Channel 737 (Portland), 617 (Seattle)

The full schedule can be found here.

Meyers Leonard, Mario Hezonja among participants in Call of Duty Twitch tournament

Meyers Leonard, Mario Hezonja among participants in Call of Duty Twitch tournament

As the NBA remains on a hiatus in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, players are having to get creative to pass the time. 

Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons did a Twitter Q&A: 

Some players are taking up challenges:

Others are using trying to entertain people with Tik Tok's:

But, a handful of players have taken to Twitch to broadcast themselves playing video games and engage with fans.

Former Trail Blazers big man Meyers Leonard is one of them:

Trail Blazers forward Mario Hezonja is a big gamer, too. 

So, to help combat boredom, SlamOnline is hosting a Twitch stream featuring a Call of Duty Modern Warfare tournament, featuring a number of NBA players.

Participants include Mario Hezonja, Utah Jazz's Donovan Mitchell and Royce O'Neale, 76ers' Ben Simmons, Bulls' Zach LaVine and Pelicans' Josh Hart.  

The tournament is set to take place Saturday at 4pm PT. 

You can watch the stream here

Todd Gurley draws comparisons to Steven Jackson after signing with Falcons

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Todd Gurley draws comparisons to Steven Jackson after signing with Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons are preparing to sign former Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley, according Jordan Schultz.

The Rams released Gurley a day before $10.5M was guaranteed.

The deal, which is reportedly a one year contract, won't be finalized until he passes a physical.

Some discussed whether or not Gurley would work as a member of the Seattle Seahawks. 

We now know that won’t come to fruition. 

The Falcons released starting running back Devonta Freeman earlier in the week and were in need of a running back. Gurley played at the University of Georgia, setting up somewhat of a homecoming.

Prior to Gurley’s release, the Falcons were reportedly making calls about a potential trade. 

Gurley is a three-time Pro Bowler and a two-time All-Pro who was named the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2015 and the AP Offensive Player of the Year in 2017.

So, as the deal became public, people started drawing comparisons to former Falcons running back Steven Jackson. 

But, why?

At quick glance: Both are veteran running backs with a history of knee issues coming out of college and both played for the Rams before signing with the Falcons. 

Jackson, who played at Oregon State from 2001-03, was drafted in the first round by the St. Louis Rams. He spent nine seasons in St. Louis, where set a franchise record for most career rushing yards (10,138). 

His time in Atlanta did not go as many had hoped, after he failed to rush for 1,000 yards in 2013, the first time since his rookie season. He finished the year with 543 rushing yards on 157 attempts.

The key difference here is Gurley is five years younger. 

The risk for Atlanta is also lower because it is just a one-year deal. Should things not work out, then both parties can move on. 

Time will tell if Gurley can remain healthy and get back to the dual-threat numbers fantasy owners know and love.

Payton Pritchard named Naismith Player of the Year finalist

Payton Pritchard named Naismith Player of the Year finalist

There may not be an NCAA Tournament, but players will still be recognized for their regular season accomplishments. 

On Tuesday, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced the Citizen Naismith Trophy finalists, which is awarded to the season's best Division I men's basketball player.

  • Udoka Azubuike, Kansas
  • Luka Garza, Iowa
  • Myles Powell, Seton Hall
  • Payton Pritchard, Oregon
  • Obi Toppin, Dayton

Pritchard was named to the Naismith Player of the Year 30-Man Midseason Team and was named Naismith Men's Player of the Week three times this season. 

Pritchard finished his senior regular-season being named Pac-12 Player of the Year, averaging 20.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game. Pritchard is one of just four players nationally who is leading his conference in both scoring and assists and is trying to become the fourth player in conference history to do so, joining Gary Payton (Oregon State, 1989-90), Damon Stoudamire (Arizona, 1994-95) and Jason Terry (Arizona, 1998-99).

Pritchard also became the winningest player in program history earlier this season.

The 2020 Citizen Naismith Trophy is scheduled to be announced on April 3, 2020,