MIKE WISE 

Portis, Arenas take similar paths

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By Mike Wise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 21, 2010

Clinton, Gilbert. Gilbert, Clinton.

It's time you got to know each other before one or both of you is shipped out of town. It's time to share commonality in career and life in fickle-fan Washington.

"I think I'm only about six months older than him," Clinton says.

Yep. Clinton Earl Portis born Sept. 1, 1981. Gilbert Jay Arenas born Jan. 6, 1982. Four months and five days apart, both about a year shy of 30.

"We live on the same street in [the same Northern Virginia town], but he's on one end and I'm on the other end of town," Gilbert says.

And Clinton played college football in Miami, where Gilbert lived as an infant.

"My parents were there, that was the thing I did have," said Clinton, who read that Gilbert had been abandoned by his mother and raised by his father. "My parents supported and pushed me. High school, college - my parents came to all my games. That's about the only difference I can think of."

They share career trajectories, too.

"Yeah, I think he got his swagger from being underrated throughout life, and I feel the same way," Clinton says. "I was reading a story about how far he was down on the depth chart at Arizona, which was like my favorite team. That was me at Miami when I came there.

"You know, he was in Golden State, underappreciated. He comes to Washington and every commercial you saw you got Gilbert Arenas in it. Myself, I was in Denver and underappreciated, I come to Washington and I was in the same position."

Barely approaching 25, they once bedazzled fans with their young, spry legs as much as those playful demeanors and the T.M.I. candor.

"Whenever I see him, I notice him because of the funky colors he wears," Gilbert says of Clinton, who never had an alter ego named Agent Zero but did pretty well with Dolla Bill and Coach Janky Spanky.


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