Atlanta Falcons coach Arthur Smith loves basketball. He grew up in Memphis, watched the game his whole life. So every once in a while during his press conferences, a basketball analogy comes into his vernacular.
Such was the case on Monday, when he jokingly suggested a tryout to 55-year-old Dikembe Mutombo after using him as an example when describing the importance of length in blocking field goals and extra points.
“We’d put him on the field goal and extra point block,” Smith said. “Dikembe, if you’re watching this, we’ll get [Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot] to work you out here tomorrow. You got one good jump in here so we can get one of those.”
And then, Smith started wagging his finger in the tradition of Mutombo after a big blocked shot.
“It’s hard to coach size,” Smith said. “It’s like having Dikembe Mutombo. Goes up there and you wish you said you had a special drill to block shots and it’s one of those, but it’s like Ade, Ade’s got length.”
Which led to the obvious question — if the 7-foot-2 Mutombo were to have played American football instead of basketball, where might he actually play? Mutombo, after all, knows a little bit about blocks — the Basketball Hall of Famer is second in NBA history with 3,289 blocks and led the league in blocked shots for five seasons from 1993-94 to 1997-98.
Mutombo — again, we think this is jokingly — responded to Smith’s offer on Tuesday: “I ham accepting the Offer,” Mutombo tweeted.