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Nate Robinson Almost Left The NBA For The NFL

The name Nate Robinson produces a plethora of different sentiments for Chicago Bulls fans. For a backup point guard, he’s one of the most polarizing players in the NBA. I can tell you myself that I’ve managed to both love and hate him within roughly the same 48 minutes, plenty of times this season. Nate Robinson has had fans contemplating having him shipped to Siberia to jumping on their couch in delight of a terribly timed, contested three-pointer finding the bottom of the basket, all in the span of ten seconds.

That’s just the way his game is wired. He’s eccentric, he’s mind-boggling. He’s inconsistent in every sense of the game aside from his complete and utter fearlessness.

For some fans, Nate Robinson is the bane of all existence. For others, he’s one of the most enjoyable players in the league. Whatever he is, it’s hard to believe that he wouldn’t be able to find a place in the NBA. However, it didn’t seem like such a stretch this past summer.

Jan 23, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls point guard Nate Robinson (2) brings the ball up court against the Detroit Pistons during the second half at the United Center. The Bulls beat the Pistons 85-82. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

According to ESPN Chicago’s Nick Friedell, KryptoNate had a hard time finding his place in the league for the 2012-2013 season, so much so that he considered switching sports. This is what he said:

“If I didn’t (make a basketball team) I was going to go play football. So it really didn’t matter to me … I was going to try out if I didn’t get a job in basketball. I was trying to go try out for the Seahawks during the (2011 NBA) lockout. If no team wanted me to play basketball, I was going to go play football.”

Nate Robinson isn’t unfamiliar with the concept of playing the NFL. When he was freshman at the University of Washington, he played the cornerback position for the team.

Robinson, who’s provided plenty of entertainment value for NBA fans even aside from his multiple Slam Dunk Contest appearances, has had a long-standing relationship with Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Caroll. When Carroll was coaching at USC, he had recruited Nate. They’d gotten into contact a couple of times but Robinson eventually declined his offer to practice with the NFL franchise.

When Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, who had coached the NBA’s shortest player in Boston, offered Nate a chance to play for Chicago he “took it as a sign from God.”

Nate Robinson’s contributions to the Bulls go much farther than his 11.5 points and 3.6 assists from off the bench. With the absence of Derrick Rose, Chicago is in the bottom half of the league in offensive efficiency. While equivocating Nate Robinson and efficiency may be an ill-conceived notion, he provides a spark of offense that the Bulls so desperately need.

Robinson, after having a solid season with the Golden State Warriors, has now moved on to solidify himself as an important piece on a championship contender. Pippen Ain’t Easy’s very own Ashley Wijangco is going to hate this statistic: according to Basketball Reference, five of the best six Bulls four-man rotations involve Nate Robinson. Not one of them involve Kirk Hinrich.

No disrespect to Captain Kirk, but it looks as if Robinson might be the best point guard on a team that’s third in their conference. It’s more than safe to say that he belongs in the NBA.

Topics: Chicago Bulls, Nate Robinson, NBA, NFL, Seattle Seahawks

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