Ex-Knick of The Week

20130318-163917.jpg

The picture above looks like it’s just an ordinary old ticket stub from a basketball game, right? You may all be thinking that right now in your cerebral cortex, but guess what? You’re totally missing the most significant thing about that game.

The ticket represents Nate Robinson’s 41 point bench outburst against the Pacers back in 2009. Now, you see the value of the ticket was $240. You would think I bought the ticket. You’re wrong if you thought that. My dad got the tickets from my uncle, who has a friend that still works at MSG to this day. The seats were about 25 rows from the court, and this was at the pre-renovated MSG. That game was amazing for a few reasons: 1. I’ll say it again: Robinson’s 41 point explosion off the bench, 2. Nate managed to shoot over 60%. 3. He had 8 rebounds, shot 15-19 from the line and only committed a turnover. If you look carefully on the ticket stub, you can see the subtitle “Sharing It” with Nate Robinson giving some random kid an autograph. Well, he certainly didn’t share the ball that night (can someone pull out the candy cane from the side of the stage and pull me off the stage?).

I loved Nate Robinson as a Knick, not just for that moment of awesomeness. For me, it was sad to see him go. From launching off of his own trampoline installed in his vertical blocking Yao Ming, to winning the slam dunk contest three times, being the first and only player to win three times to date, two of them consecutively, and just being plain awesome by crossing over and dunking on guys, Nate was a joy to watch. And speaking of the dunk contest, the peak year for the dunk contest was when Nate won in 2010, where he used the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders as props. And yes, DeMar DeRozan did get robbed that year, but that’s besides the point. Then, Robinson retired from the dunk contest permanently, and it was never the same watching the dunk contest, as it became more gaffe filled than ever, even though it started to become gaffe-filled when Nate won his second contest in 2010. Nate made the dunk contest watchable. He, in some aspects, is this generation’s Spud Webb, except for being three inches taller than him, and being a primary bench scorer rather than starting the vast majority of his games. I always viewed him as that, and I don’t think anyone will ever change that view I have had on him for awhile now, unless you can really convince me to say otherwise.

In addition to playing with the Knicks, Robinson has played with the Celtics, Thunder, Warriors, and currently, the Bulls. I felt like a dagger was being thrown at me when Robinson was traded to the Celtics in 2010, which brought foul machine and three point chucker, Bill Walker, to New York and Eddie “Brick” House. Robinson had a decent stint with the Celtics. We should all remember when that damn savant and Knick killing devil, Paul Pierce, hit one of his many game winning shots against the Knicks back in December 2010, where Robinson was attempting to celebrate, and ended up being a one man dog pile by trying to make Pierce piggyback him, falling in the process, while Pierce was airplaning his way everywhere. I couldn’t resist laughing; because talk about an epic celebration fail. That was the game where Amare Stoudemire hit a what was supposed to be game winning buzzer-beating three, but it was called off because the clock sped up a few seconds from the Pierce game-winner, the clock being at 0.4 seconds at the beginning of the play, and didn’t get the shot release off in time. Then, Robinson, along with Kendrick Perkins, were traded by the Celtics to the Thunder in February 2011, in which the Celtics acquired Jeff Green and where-the-hell-has-this-guy-been-that-hasn’t-played-in-ages, Nenad Krstic.

In Shaquille O’Neal’s mostly tell-all biography Shaq Uncut: My Story  (I know Shaq’s commentary on TNT is insufferable, but buy the book, it’s excellent. Still love Shaq.) Shaq said that Robinson was all about persona more than playing the game of basketball itself. The stuff Shaq said didn’t really bode all that well for Robinson, as he called him a prankster, and said that “everybody on the Celtics knows who created every skit, every prank that we did…” Not surprisingly, Robinson fired back at Shaq Daddy’s comments and said “When it was gametime, I was ready to play…” However, who in god’s name would consult Shaq for roster advice, yet alone advice (that’s still up in the air)? Kobe in the most secretive way, maybe? Possibly.

Nate didn’t really get a chance while playing in Oklahoma City. He only played in 4 games for the Thunder during the 2010-11 season, and was essentially viewed as a third string guard behind long term backup point guard that’s now on the Blazers, Eric Maynor, and, of course, Russell Westbrook. There wasn’t really any room for him to fit on the Thunder. Robinson was waived on Christmas Eve, the day before the 2011-12 locked out season officially begun, the day after being Christmas Day, of course. He basically gave up on the Thunder; he didn’t attend practices or team meetings and essentially said “screw you,” for the lack of a better term. And, Robinson even said that he was going to try out for the Seahawks if the lockout wasn’t uplifted. The Thunder wanted to do away with Robinson so much, Sam Presti paid some of his $4.5 million salary. I think it’s safe to say he hated playing in Oklahoma City, wouldn’t you guys think?

After all of the hullabaloo in OKC, the Warriors signed Robinson to a one year deal, where he regained himself from playing in the house of horrors that was OKC. The Warriors stunk it up last year, but Robinson did play a key role right beside Brandon Rush for the main scoring threat off the bench. Now, Robinson plays for the Bulls, and has appeared in all 69 games the Bulls have played so far, starting in 22 of them. He’s having one of his best seasons ever since he was a Knick. Obviously, Robinson is not putting up incredible numbers, but they’re still doable for him.

Hopefully, Nate Robinson’s career will stay on track for the longest time. But, however, he’ll probably be a rent-a-player for the rest of his career, unfortunately, because of his shenanigans, unless something miraculous happens, like no more shenanigans.