Standing at 5’9″ Nate Robinson was considered a man amongst giants when he was balling out in the NBA. Like many “little men” that played in the league, Robinson stepped on the court with a chip on his shoulders. Every night when he stepped on that court, he proved that his size wasn’t a handicap and that he was just as good any player on the hardwood. When the ball was in his hands, Robinson dazzled fans with crafty ball dribbling skills and wowed everyone with his deceptive hops. He was no slouch on defense either, harassing defenders like a pesky gnat and rising up to block defenders like Yao Ming.
We can’t forget about his ability to throw down some spectacular jams as well. Nate had some striking posters during his time in the league. He also continued the tradition of small guards winning the slam dunk competition, easily taking home three trophies, an NBA record, and drawing comparisons to the great Spud Webb.
After he was selected with the 25th pick by the New York Knicks, Robinson would go on to play 11 seasons and played for the Boston Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls, and Denver Nuggets. Make no mistake; he made an impact on every team he played for due to his tenacity and will to win.
If you ask many people, Robinson should still be on an NBA roster, but, unfortunately, he’s not. BUT, you can catch the Seattle native playing professionally in Ice Cube’s brainchild the BIG3, but that’s not all he’s doing. We caught up with Robinson before the shit hit the fan with the coronavirus pandemic, and he filled us in on his and fellow professional baller Carlos Boozer’s new clothing line, Holdat, his love for video games, NBA 2K specifically, and more in our latest Beyond Ballin’ feature.
Step into the interview below.
Cassius: What’s going on with you? How you doing?
Nate Robinson: Chilling man, chilling.
CL: So we know you’re heavy into gaming. When Nate Robinson is chilling at home, what games do you play?
NR: Everything. I mean, I’m definitely popping in, well it depends. If I turn the XBOX on, click the little button, and see what my homies are playing and see what they’re on. I love NBA 2K, and I love a 3-on-3. 2K is hella fun. You can change your fits, socks, jersey, no shirt, tattoos. It’s just what it is in real life right now. It’s lit, and I love that game. I hope that Madden steps it up next year and do something like have their 7-on-7 in the field. You can create your own player, create your own field, like the quarterback, running back. I hope they do something like that to change the game. That’d be dope as fuck.
CL: That’s a good idea. Speaking of 2K, what would you say your skills are in 2K on a scale of 1 to 10.
NR: So I would say out of 100, I’m probably a good 85.
NR: Yeah, I’m like an 85. I won’t say I’m dumb nice like that, but I can hold my own.
CL: 85, that’s a good number, that’s pretty solid.
NR: Yeah, it’s solid. It’s above average. I’m not the weakest dude if I was playing. I can hold my own. It depends on what build I’m bringing out too. So if I’m bringing my big man, I can hold it down. If I got my lockdown, my inside out playmaker, I mean, I got all different kinds of players. I got 5 or 6 players.
CL: The NBA 2K League is popping off now. It’s a huge deal. Do you think you can run with those guys?
NR: I don’t know man. I got to do a little bit more practice, but I’ll say I can because I can compete. I mean, I can hold my own against pretty much anybody. I think that with more time and more reps, I think that I can get better at the game for sure.
CL: How about if they ran a celebrity league? Would you be down with that?
NR: I would probably definitely be one of the best players in the celebrity league for sure.
CL: So, who is the most famous person you beat? The biggest name you beat? That you could say, you easily handled in NBA 2K?
NR: I wouldn’t say easily handled. I mean I beat, I played Bobo before. I played Kyrie Irving and won the game. Thabo Sefolosha, I beat before. I mean there’s probably so many different players you don’t know. I played Quavo, beat him before in a game. I mean, I beat guys like Grinding DF, who is one of the big, top 2K players in the world. I mean Dan Ru plays. He’s pretty good, beat him before. Different guys. We all play. We all play and win. We all play and lose. It’s just part of the game.
CL: Outside of NBA 2K, any other games you pick up?
NR: I’m trying to pick up Fortnite, but I can’t get that shit down. That building shit is killing me, but I play it. I can play, but it’s difficult. It’s not the easiest game to play when you’re playing.
CL: We’re not a big fan of Fortnite.
NR: PUBG (PlayersUnknowns Battlegrounds) is way better.
CL: You see the kids, their reflexes are so good now. It’s frustrating. These kids are fast.
NR: You can tell if you’re playing a guy on PC than a video game console. You can tell the difference, how fast he’s moving. Everything is just sharper. It’s crazy.
CL: You know we had to get a basketball question in here. We know you watched the dunk contest. You’re a 3-time champion. Who do you feel won the dunk contest this past NBA All-Star weekend?
NR: Well, I just think they should’ve tied.
CL: They should’ve tied?
NR: Worst case scenario, at the end of the day, they should have had two trophies that night, and they should’ve brought them out and gave it to both of them.
CL: Yeah, we believe they should’ve done that too.
NR: And the year when Zach LaVine was in it, he should’ve had two trophies.
CL: So what is Nate Robinson doing right now? What can we expect?
NR: I mean, I’m doing a whole bunch. I got my own show with The Player’s Tribune called House Guest. Get into people’s houses, celebrities homes. Shoot the shit. Chop it up. Have a good time. Also creating my own brand called Holdat Clothing.
CL: Holdat Clothing?
NR: Yes sir. I got a hoodie on right now. My boy Polo got a hoodie. Started a dope ass brand, and we’re coming out with some fire. Clothes, shorts, hats, just urban apparel, just streetwear, fun stuff. My own show I’m about to create called Yacht Talk. Doing different interviews on the yachts, having fun in Miami, just cool shit. Doing my life.
CL: Who is that on the hoodie?
NR: This is Mr. Hops.
CL: Mr. Hops?
NR: Yeah, this is a slasher. Like if you like the build when you’re going to the basket dunking on people, this is the build that you want to get. I just created these characters that came to my mind. I’m all about animals and cartoon characters. That’s the era I grew up in, like Bugs Bunny. So I want to create my own lane and bring some different type of swag to the world.
CL: Final question? We know your kick game is serious. What’s your favorite pair of sneakers you out right now?
NR: Right now? Besides the Air Mags that I don’t have? I’m trying to find those, but I love all kinds of shoes honestly. I’m a big fan of the shoes you got on.
CL: The Jordan 1s are classics.
NR: The Jordan 4s I got on. I mean any Jordan. I’m a sneakerhead to the fullest, but anything Jordan I rock with no matter what. So any kind of Jordan is my favorite.
Again you can catch Nate in The Big 3 when life returns to sort of normalcy. You can check out his clothing line Holdat by heading here.
Photo: Bernard Smalls / @PhotosByBeanz