How can you not love Nate Robinson? He’s exciting, charismatic and can straight-up ball. As an undersized college basketball player myself, I was always admiring the perseverance, passion and heart that Robinson has possessed throughout his basketball career. While his antics and emotion on the court have not always been every coaches cup of tea, it has truly been a pleasure to see Robinson’s overall game mature and develop since he came into the league as a rookie in 2005.
As an ode to Nate on his 29th birthday, we take a look at his top 30 moments over the course of his athletic career — the good, the bad, the funny and the spectacular.
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Celtics Training Camp
At the beginning of training camp, there was a buzz about the eclectic group that the Boston Celtics brought into training camp prior to the 2010-2011 season. This group included Delonte West, Von Wafer, Shaquille O’Neal and Nate Robinson. During one of the team’s preseason sessions on the campus of Salve Regina University in Newport, RI, Nate spotted the Big Diesel chatting it up under the basket and decided to take advantage by dunking all over the big fella. Nate also decided to follow up his preseason event by completing a full suicide in Shaq’s size 22 sneakers.
Jumping Over Paul Pierce
Not one of Robinson’s greatest moments, but nonetheless, it is definitely noteworthy. Nate’s epic fail happened during Boston’s December matchup between the Knicks in 2010 when Pierce buried an arena-silencing jumper at MSG to give Boston the 118-116 victory. As Pierce celebrated with his best rendition of a human airplane, Robinson jumped over The Truth’s head, almost breaking his neck doing a face plant. Robinson acknowleged the situation after the game by tweeting, “Paul Pierce damn near killed me today.”
Making Fun Of Novak (Discount Double-Check)
It’s funny when NBA players have beef. It’s especially funny when a bench role player and a 5-9 spark plug get into it. This wasn’t the first time that Nate mocked the 6-9 shooter. However, this came after Steve Novak addressed Robinson as a child, calling him “Little Nate.” Nate decided to continue giving Novak a taste of his own medicine by doing the discount double-check celebration on repeat. The Bulls would go on to win that game behind Nate’s 35 points.
Dunk Contest Finish Over Dwight Howard
During the 2009 All-Star Weekend, Dwight Howard was all decked out in his Superman attire but there was one thing that could defeat the Man of Steel: Kryptonate. Sporting his custom Kryptonate Foamposites, Robinson brought the house down by dunking over the nearly 7-0 center, bringing his second slam dunk title back to New York City.
Nate Blocks Yao
Well this was embarrassing for Yao Ming, especially when he faked getting hit in the eye after getting stuffed by someone two feet smaller than him. In this clip, Nate climbs up Yao after T-Mac feeds him on the baseline, creating an ugly result for the Rockets.
Splits Portland Double-Team And Throws Down
Described by the commentator as a “frustration dunk,” Nate splits the Lillard/Hickson double-team by doing an impressive between-the-legs move and cocking it back for the show-stopping jam. After Nazr Mohammed seals off Meyers Leonard in the paint, the rookie big man knows better than to meet the electric guard at the rim.
Off The Miss Vs. N.C. State
This clip is a throwback from Nate’s college days against North Carolina State. Before he came onto the scene as a NBA baller, Robinson was seen catching his teammates missed layup of the rim and throwing it down mid-air. The spark plug was wearing his emotions on his sleeve after this one, sporting the Washington purple and gold.
Robinson Goes Underneath Telfair
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Crazy athletic ability and balance by Nate. Dude gets Telfair to bite on the pump fake and goes completely under him and finishes for two. Not the most fundamental closeout by Sebastian Telfair.
Swatting The King
Maybe the craziest play of the 2013 NBA Playoffs. Nate comes out of NOWHERE and blocks the King at the rim. If you watch the replay in slow motion, you’ll see that the amount of hang-time and body control that Robinson showed on that defensive possession was ridiculous.
23-Point Fourth Quarter Vs. Brooklyn
Robinson was one bucket away from breaking the franchise record for points scored in the fourth quarter. The man whose record he almost broke? Michael Jordan. While Nate fell short of the record, he still put himself in good company by scoring 34 points in an instrumental Game 4 win of their first-round matchup against Brooklyn. In a game that looked like it was all Brooklyn down the stretch, Nate put the team on his back, likening his performance to NBA Jam. This historic playoff performance single-handedly raised his salary for next season.
Crazy Bank Shot In OT
While this was part of Robinson’s offensive eruption in Game 4 against Brooklyn, it deserves its own recognition. Nate attacks Deron Williams as the clock winds down during the game’s first overtime session to knock down an unbelievable running one-hander off the glass from right inside the three-point line. This shot wouldn’t be the game-winner after Joe Johnson sent the Nets into double OT, but it would go down as one of the biggest shots of the 2013 postseason.
Hits Humphries With The Okie-Doke
Another clip in which Nate just makes the Nets look silly. In this situation, he gets the Hump on an island on the right wing and flat-out embarasses the former reality TV star. Poor Kris Humphries.
360 Layup Over Asik
In this acrobatic clip, Robinson drives to the left and avoids Houston’s defensive catalyst by doing a 360 layup for the finish. Either Asik was faked out completely by Nate’s stunt or he was just flat out in awe of the 5-9 journeyman’s athleticism.
45 Vs. Portland At MSG
Once opon a time, Nate Robinson and David Lee were the future of New York Basketball. Check out Robinson going for a career-high of 45 points at Madison Square Garden versus Rip City.
41 Off The Bench After Sitting 14-Straight Games
This performance made me love Nate Robinson even more. After being in Mike D’Antoni‘s dog house for 14-straight games, the little big man erupted for 41 points off the bench. Robinson was fueled by D’Antoni’s decision to bench him for an entire month and as a result, led his Knicks to victory over Atlanta on New Year’s Day.
Shake And Bake With Will Ferrell While Dropping 41
Awesome to see two celebrities with mutual admiration for each other paying homage on basketball’s biggest stage. After knocking down the and-1 three against Indiana, Robinson and Will Ferrell meet on the sidelines for a memorable fist-bump. Nate would go on to score 41 on the Pacers that night at MSG.
Funny Jump Ball
Robinson is up to his schoolyard bag of tricks here when he is seen trying to steal a jump ball from Rudy Gay at the Air Canada Centre. Instead of jumping, Nate decides to let Gay win the jump ball while tracking it down.
Pissing Off D’Antoni
Another clip in which Robinson finds himself in Mike D’Antoni’s doghouse as he shoots the ball on the wrong basket after time expires in the first quarter versus New Jersey. D’Antoni gives the 5-9 guard an earful after Nate’s shot attempt. We saw just the beginning of Robinson and D’Antoni’s love/hate relationship.
From Beyond Midcourt Vs. OKC
Robinson is shown here balling against one of his former teams and sends the Oracle Arena into a frenzy after taking one dribble and launching a half-court buzzer-beater off the glass to end first quarter.
Robinson must love having a field day against the Nets. In this clip, he knocks down the baseline jumper and follows up by chasing down a streaking MarShon Brooks, who attempts to finish in transition. However, Nate rose to the occasion and sends MarShon’s layup attempt into the crowd.
Nate Rob Works At Chipotle
We all know that NBA players like to eat good. In fact, a lot of basketball players really have an affinity with the Mexican restaurant, Chipotle. In this clip, Robinson shows his exuberant personality by spending his day working at a local Chipotle restaurant in Boston.
Shrek And Donkey
You’ve probably seen the infamous photo of Nate Robinson on Glen “Big Baby” Davis‘ back during the 2010 Playoffs in which Big Baby was drooling after making a spectacular play. In the postgame presser, Nate anointed the two as the new “Shrek and Donkey” after their playoff win over Olando.
Nate Makes Reggie Jackson Fall
Robinson goes behind his back to completely break Reggie Jackson’s ankles before knocking down the jumper. Maybe Robinson was still upset that Jackson was once ahead of him in Scott Brooks‘ rotation?
Put-Back Over Leon Powe
In a matchup with Boston during Robinson’s New York tenure, Nate once again catches a thunderous dunk off a teammate’s miss at the TD Bank Garden. Leon Powe was helpless during the situation.
Nate Throws Bosh’s Layup
One of Robinson’s memorable blocks on an elite big man. In a matchup against Toronto, Chris Bosh attempts an up-and-under move on David Lee. Just when Bosh thinks he found daylight, Nate Robinson comes from completely out of the frame to swat Bosh’s stuff out of bounds.
Nate Blocks The Big Diesel
Earlier in the game against Cleveland, Shaq denied Robinson as he was going to the basket. In a quest for redemption, Robinson stuffed the Big Diesel from behind to add to his amazing shotblocking highlights.
Over Spud Webb
During the 2006 NBA Dunk Contest, Nate pulled out former dunk champion Spud Webb and dunked over him to take home his first dunk title. This certainly made for one of the most memorable moments in dunk contest history.
2010 Dunk Contest
During the 2010 All-Star Weekend, Nate Robinson solidified himself as a dunk contest legend by winning his third NBA dunk title. To top it all off, he stole a cheerleader’s pom-poms for a memorable victory celebration.
Tearing Up The Gridiron
Nate wasn’t always known as just a basketball player. A two-sport athlete at the University of Washington, Robinson shows off in this highlight why many had him pegged as a football player.
Robinson’s “State Of Nate”
Robinson’s long-running video series detailing his off-the-court antics is probably one of the best we’ve seen involving a professional athlete. It’s always super candid, and the videos let his fans in on the life of one of the more unique players in the NBA.
What’s your favorite Robinson moment?
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