“In my mind, I’ve seen one athlete that could do this – and that’s Nate Robinson.”
Longtime football coach and former University of Washington head man Rick Neuheisel is just one of several high-profile people in professional sports who believe Nate Robinson could be “the first.” Just what is the former NBA guard and Slam Dunk Contest champion trying to pull off?
Robinson hopes to be the first athlete to ever play basketball and football at the absolute highest level.
The 11-year NBA veteran failed to latch on with another team after being released by the New Orleans Pelicans in late October. His subsequent ambitions of a successful professional basketball career in China never materialized despite a workout with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers just after the New Year.
His hoop dreams looking less realistic than ever, Robinson has apparently decided to focus his athletic future on the gridiron.
The 5’9, 180-pounder was originally enrolled at Washington on a football scholarship. He started six games at cornerback as a freshman, totaling 34 tackles and two interceptions for a Huskies team that appeared in the Sun Bowl against Purdue University. Robinson was named the Seattle Times’ Class AAA State Player of the Year in both basketball and football as a high school senior.
As Neuheisel, Jamal Crawford, Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis, and others attest in the video above, Robinson’s natural physical gifts are extremely rare – even among professional athletes. Considering it’s been well over a decade since he last played football, though, Robinson’s chances to catch on with an NFL team seem slim.
Then again, maybe avoiding the wear and tear inevitably associated with football will allow the 31-year-old to tap into the abilities that once made him such a devastating playmaker. We’d be remiss to count out an athlete of Robinson’s caliber entirely.