Tennis Prose



Bryant McKinnie Owns The Tennis Court

Bryant McKinnie is widely recognized as a dominant NFL offensive line force with exceptional blocking abilities. Having enjoyed a largely successful career in the NFL, which spanned over a decade from 2002-2013, he earned superb accolades such as a Super Bowl victory (2012 season), a Pro Bowl appearance, and being recognized in the unanimous All-American team in 2001. Bryant was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.

When it comes to his career highlights and awards, several stand out just on their own. However, for them to be associated with just one player highlights Bryant McKinnie’s quality on the pitch. There are various NFL categories in which McKinnie excelled, and various NFL best bets today cover these markets and more in the modern game.

It is key to note that McKinnie is known for his exceptional frame. Standing at 6 foot 8, he is a colossal man who used his height and weight to his advantage during his scintillating period in the NFL. You’d be wrong to think he was so good at gridiron warfare just because of his size. Many players in the NFL stand over 6 foot 3 but don’t have anywhere near the same stats and recognition that McKinnie has. Even now, his time in the NFL is well remembered.

What many people may not know is that McKinnie is a huge tennis fan – so much so that he is rumored to have been released from his contract with the Minnesota Vikings because he was too tired from the tennis lessons that he had been taking from Venus Williams. Now, while this rumor may be slightly wide of the mark, McKinnie is a huge fan of the sport and has been quoted on record stating how much he appreciates the stamina and skill it takes to play the game.

While Venus Williams and Serena Williams both give him lessons and show him how to use his racquet, he jokes that Venus is the better teacher. He was spotted courtside in the US, cheering on his friend Venus, and was visibly nervous when watching her play.

McKinnie’s love for tennis started in 2011 after a conversation with Venus Williams. Initially, he signed up and accepted Venus’ offer to train him, so that he could lose weight for the upcoming NFL season. He was reportedly attempting to shift his playing weight from 360 pounds to 340 pounds. She offered him lessons and he started playing, soon finding out that he had a lot of unlikely love and appreciation for the sport.

McKinnie made the grave error of underestimating just how fit you need to be to compete at the highest level of tennis. After winning the Super Bowl, he believed he could take tennis in his stride with relative ease and pick it up quite easily. He soon realized the importance of having an effective technique and the fine margins involved in playing the game at the very highest level.

Venus Williams is known to bring her friends together every year for a mini-tournament. Despite extensive training and coaching, McKinnie was admittedly not very good in his first year. However, he persisted, honed his craft and later beat Venus at her own game. However, it must be stated here that he was allowed to use his strong hand and Venus was only allowed to use her weaker hand. Still, not a bad result for someone who was used to strapping on shoulder pads, knee pads and a helmet, and running out onto the NFL pitch to get himself right into the middle of crunching tackles.

Even after getting intensive one-to-one coaching and tuition from one of the finest female players ever to grace the court, McKinnie himself will be the first to admit he couldn’t hold a candle to her when it comes to playing for real. Many consider Venus Williams and Serena Williams to be two of the best female players of all time.

It certainly isn’t hard to see why, with a staggering number of Grand Slam victories between them, and the sisters spearheading the sport for the younger generation of players looking for inspiration. There is no doubt that many players in future generations will be inspired by the sisters to take to the court and win Grand Slams themselves. McKinnie may have missed this particular boat, but he has shown a keen eye for the sport since retiring, and his blossoming coaching partnership with Venus and Serena looks set to continue for many years to come.

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