TOP 10 REASONS WHY NATE ROBINSON BELONGS IN THE NBA
1) Playoff Clutch
In April of 2013 Nate Robinson absolutely dominated the Brooklyn Nets against all odds and in heroic fashion - in the playoffs when it really counts.
Robinson had already been named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week earlier that February after averaging 17.8 points, 6.8 assists, and 2.5 steals on 52.9 percent from the three-point line in a 4-game span. Furthermore during a 19 game stretch from March to April that year Robinson averaged over 18 points and 5 assists, including a win over Lebron & Wade’s Miami Heat that snapped the eventual champions 27 win streak.
In Game 4 of the first round of the playoffs, the Chicago Bulls were down 14 points with less than 3 minutes left in regulation, and Robinson put the team on his back scoring 12 unanswered points giving him 24 points in the 4th Q - only one point shy of Michael Jordan’s franchise playoff record.
Robinson then led the Bulls to a Game 7 victory over Brooklyn without Kirk Hinrich or Luol Deng in games 5, 6, and 7, along with the absence of Derrick Rose who sat out the entire season.
In Game 1 of the semi-finals vs the Miami Heat - Robinson recorded 27 points and 9 assists to give the Bulls an unprecedent 1-0 lead in the series. For that performance he joined Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Derrick Rose as the only Bulls player to record at least 25 points and 9 assists in a playoff game.
The Bulls would lose the next four games and Miami would later repeat as champions, but Robinson’s overall performance was lauded by everyone around the NBA, including Bulls legend Steve Kerr who said "they might have to put a statue of this guy outside the building, right next to Michael." Furthermore outside publications had named Robinson “the breakout star of the playoffs.”
2) Consistently Playoff Clutch
When Nate Robinson was traded to the Boston Celtics two months before the 2010 playoffs, it seemed unlikely that Robinson would find significant playing time on the stacked roster that had already recently won a championship. Former head coach Doc Rivers had a premonition however, and said this a month before the Celtics met the Magic in the ECSF… “Nate is not in our rotation right now, but he’ll win a playoff game for us. There will be a game where we’re flat, and we’re going to need somebody to come in and make something happen, and Nate will do that. And I told him that yesterday. I told him there will be a game that he’s going to win us. He’s going to win us a playoff game.”
Sure enough Rivers was right, and with Rajon Rondo ailing on the sideline in the second quarter of a pivotal Game 6 against the Magic, Robinson caught fire scoring 13 of his 17 points in that frame to help carry the Celtics to a series-clinching win. After the game Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy took notice of the performance by saying “Nate Robinson was huge in the first half, that was a huge, huge lift for them."
Robinson was also highly productive in the NBA Finals that year as well, most notably in Game 4 when he scored 12 points in 16 minutes off the bench, and along with Glen Davis was quickly coined ‘Shrek n Donkey’ thanks to not only their animation - but their overall good play that was one Ron Artest shot away from an NBA championship.
You certainly don’t get points for throwing hands in the NBA and getting suspended, yet at the same time you should definitely be applauded for backing up your teammates, standing your ground, and never running from anybody - especially when you’re the smallest guy on the court. When Carmelo Anthony was a Denver Nugget and open hand slapped Mardy Collins across the side of his face, it was Robinson who came to the rookie point guards defense, and preceded to throw JR Smith in the stands and run after Carmelo at half court - all within the mindset that if you mess with one of us then you mess with all of us - and being friends with the opposition is really no concern.
This is all the more unique and valuable in today’s NBA where everybody’s friends with everybody, and one could definitely question player’s motivations as well as where their loyalty lies. With Robinson it’s always been clear that he’s ready to be on the front lines for his teammates in any way and under any circumstances, and that’s exactly the type of enforcer you need come playoff time.
4) Heart Over Height
This is the motto, and how can you not respect it. 5’9’’ 180 lbs in a game full of giants and Nate Robinson is absolutely scared of nobody. No different than the recently inducted Hall of Famer Allen Iverson (who actually stands at 6 ft) and the blossoming superstar Isaiah Thomas for the Boston Celtics, Robinson finds a way to be all over the court (around the perimeter and under the rim) and can literally do ANYTHING you can think of when it comes to the game of basketball, thus making him an invaluable commodity despite his lack of size. Yet more than anything Robinson compensates for his shortcomings with heart... tremendous heart… and in that category he’s always been head and shoulders above the rest.
I believe it was Kenny Smith from Houston Rockets and TNT fame that once said (paraphrasing) “that on behalf of his abilities Nate Robinson could be one of the most persistent and relentless defenders in the NBA,” and this writer happens to wholeheartedly agree. Yet if there’s any sentiment that suggests Robinson can do even more than what he’s already shown, that’s once again a testament to his unparalleled abilities and not at all an indictment on what he's already done. Here’s him blocking Shaquille O'Neal, Lebron James, and Yao Ming for further confirmation.
Just check the Instagram, nobody out works Nate Robinson. The guy is an official gym rat who wakes up every day and does everything in his power to get better, and he seems to literally take no days off. In today’s NBA and across the wide world of sports there are an abundance of athletes who - despite their millions - still leave their passion and drive up for debate, yet with that being said even Robinson’s worst critics could never dispute how much hard work he puts into his game.
7) Focused on Family, Winning, and Nothing Else
Stephen A Smith once said (paraphrasing) “There’s far worse knuckleheads in the NBA and honestly you’re messing with the man’s money - pay Nate Robinson the respect he deserves” and to date that’s probably the most honest reporting on Nate Robinson I’ve seen in the mainstream media. To think that he’s legitimately been branded as a “troublemaker” is one of the most insane defamations of character in all of sports, considering he’s never once been in trouble with the law, and by all accounts he’s the consummate family man that doesn’t have one scandal to his name. Yet since he’s passionate with a personality the prevailing narrative has become that he’s somehow not worth the trouble??? Well that doesn’t add up at all, just ask the Bulls and Celtics fans that watched him make their teams better in every way.
As stated above Robinson can do everything on the basketball court. Shoot ✔️️ Pass ✔️️ Dribble ✔️️ Steal ✔️️ Block ✔️️ Dunk ✔️️✔️️✔️️ and for what it’s worth that’s not even where it stops. Robinson is such a transcendent talent that he even excelled at Division I football at Washington University his freshman year, and most recently even earned a tryout with the Seattle Seahawks, where head coach Pete Carroll reiterated that if he had chosen to pursue football way back when - “then there’d be no telling what kind of athlete he could have been at the position, whether he was a receiver or a DB, and I think he could have done both.”
Most recently he legitimately dribbled through a 7 footer’s legs and drew the foul at the rim, the type of highlight that you’ve never seen before and you may never see again.
9) Box Office
Thus that leads to the next point of order that shouldn’t be overlooked, and that’s simply that sports above everything else is entertainment, period, and nobody is better at entertaining than Kryptonate himself. Even disregarding the fact that he’s a 3x Slam Dunk Champion (where other than Aaron Gordon/Zach Lavine the Dunk Contest hasn’t even been watchable since he walked away from it), but Robinson is a legitimate fan favorite who puts people in the seats and draws immediate intrigue for every team he’s on. If there’s a small market or even a big city team that can use a boost of adrenaline or relevance headed into the playoffs, they should call Nate Robinson and he’ll have them on sportscenter every night.
10) Has Something To Prove
The final and likely best reason to sign Nate Robinson for the playoffs is that right now he definitely has a chip on his shoulder, and historically he’s always been at his best when he has something to prove. It’s true in fact that as the ultimate underdog Robinson has always had this mentality, though when you look at his career more closely his “redemption” attribute is even more apparent. Take December ‘09 for example, when Robinson was inexplicably removed from the Knicks lineup for 14 straight games, yet returned for the 15th game to score 41 points off the bench while leading New York to victory.
During that month he was benched Robinson never spoke foul to the media about head coach Mike D’Antoni or anyone else within the Knicks, yet instead continued to work hard and wait for his number to be called, and when it was finally called - he shot 18-24 with 6 rebounds and 8 assists - a clear message for all his critics without saying a word.
It was the following year the Knicks traded Robinson to the Celtics and since then he’s posted a better playoff resume than any Knick point guard thereafter, yet based off a misrepresentation of his character he hasn’t received any real offers from any NBA teams the past two years, even though he’s healthy and clearly as determined as ever.
If history repeats itself when he finally gets his shot Nate Robinson will deliver, and if you’re an NBA playoff team you definitely don't want to be on the wrong side of that.
"The Free Agency Landscape" artwork by J.O. Appleman