Uncle Drew is finally back. Revealed today, Pepsi MAX & Kyrie Irving Present: Uncle Drew Chapter 3, the latest installment in what is quickly becoming one of the most iconic marketing campaigns ever. This year features the introduction of two new characters to the team: Nate Robinson (“Lights”) and Maya Moore (“Betty Lou”).
In Chapter 3, Uncle Drew convinces Lights to head back down to the park and find his groove again, despite Betty Lou doing everything she can to stop the old man from breaking a bone. Uncle Drew and Lights start flowing again like the good ol’ days before Betty Lou nearly stops the game, scolding them for disobeying. From there, someone insults her and she gets in on the action.
Last week, we got a chance to catch up with Robinson to talk about the project, as well as his love of Call of Duty and what he is expecting for his first season in Denver.
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Dime: How did you get involved with Uncle Drew?
Nate Robinson: Funny story, I got involved by just watching, laughing and joking about it. I thought i’d be a good supporting actor in the commercial. I saw Kyrie at a game at the free throw line and I was like “Man what’s up with that Uncle Drew, I’m tryna be down with the commercial.” He was shooting a free throw and I kept bugging him. I hit him on Twitter one time too and then met up with him again in New York and he was like “Man, can you stay in character?” I was like “Come on man, it’s me you’re talking too.” It was pretty cool. I’m excited.
Dime: How was it working with Kyrie Irving?
NR: Kyrie is a good dude, we have a good relationship. He texted me after we did it, and said, “You did a great job, you’re a cool dude, you made it so much fun being on set and what not.” We were just kicking back on set and it was a great, great opportunity. I just jumped at the chance to work with Kyrie and Pepsi MAX. It was a great, brilliant idea to have myself in the commercial and to be involved with the whole thing was just awesome.
Dime: How difficult was the makeup process?
NR: Just watching yourself transform from being young, beautiful and sexy to some old fart man is crazy. I had a great time though. The makeup thing was crazy how they prepared everything and did the color scheme to make you look old. I looked at myself in the mirror and you see yourself aging and I was just like “Wow, I’m gonna look like this when I’m old.” It was so cool man, it was one of my favorite experiences since I’ve been in the NBA. The only thing that bugged me was that I couldn’t tell anybody about it. I’m the worst at keeping secrets so I just totally forgot about it, I didn’t tell nobody. Man, I just wanted people to see it for them and see it, it’s gonna be so cool once it comes out.
Dime: Are you a fan of CoD?
NR: Man, you are talking to Mr. Call of Duty himself.
Dime: So, how do you feel about the new CoD:Ghosts?
NR: I can’t wait. I haven’t played it yet, but I mean, with the Knicks and all the teams I played on I would always give a salute to all the Call of Duty guys that had the same gamer tag as my clan. We had a co-following of guys, our gamer tag was BFAM. We started populating, almost overpopulating and I started to have some of the best gamers down with the BFAM (Brothers from Another Mother). We run games, all day. All we do is play Call of Duty and play against other clans. I’ve played against Spencer Hawes, Ronnie Brewer, Tim Duncan, Malik Rose, Quentin Richardson. I’ve played against so many guys. I have my clan and they have theirs. They are not so successful when they play against us. We pretty much win every time.
Dime: Are you the best NBA CoD player?
NR: I’m probably one of the best. I wouldn’t say I’m the best, but I have a lot of guys in my clan that are better than a lot of guys in the NBA for sure.
Dime: So you’re in a new situation in Denver, but you have some old teammates in Gallinari and Wilson Chandler from your New York days. How excited are you to rejoin with them?
NR: I saw them yesterday at media day and I was singing the song “reunited and it feels so good.” We have a lot of great stories and memories playing with the Knicks. But seeing Gallo the other day, we had our handshake that we had for the Knicks and we still do it to this day. Every time I see him we do it. Seeing Wilson Chandler the other day too, how quiet he is and never talking, but he’s always laughing if someone makes a joke. It’s just good to be around guys you already know. It makes it easier to transition from one team to another.
Dime: It took a while for you to come off the free agent market, which was surprising to me because of your playoff performance. Did you ever doubt that an offer was coming?
NR: I wouldn’t say doubt but when it comes to Nate Robinson it’s always something. I don’t know what GMs, coaches and teams are thinking or saying, I don’t know. But at a point, I just quite frankly really just don’t care, I’m already stamped for being what I am. People are really getting to know me, they are already assuming who I am and what the game means to me I guess. I would never let that stop me from being who Nate Robinson really is, who is a hard worker and someone that they can always count on. I’ve always been that way and I’m always going to carry myself that way. It was frustrating throughout the summer, but at the same time God puts people through different situations and everybody has a different path to greatness and it’s just going to make my story that much better. You know when I end my career and write my book and do my thing like that, they will see my side and seeing how I feel, instead of hearing the he said she said things and I just really can’t wait for that day to come.
Dime: Speaking of Chicago, you obviously played a huge role in their playoff success, receiving a lot of extra minutes of because of the Derrick Rose injury. What kind of relationship did you have with Derrick Rose during that time?
NR: I had a great, great relationship with Derrick. We talked everyday; on the plane, during the game, at practice. The one thing about it was that he really respected my grit, my hustle and the hard work that I put into it. We talked everyday. He said it would be crazy if we got a chance to see the 1-2 punch, I don’t think they would have been ready for that. Like I said, I found a new home now, Denver gave me an opportunity and I hope I can continue to play the way I’ve played throughout my career, if not better and bring that toughness and hard work back. To pinpoint that, Derrick was a great guy, he’s very humble, he’s probably one of the humblest guys I’ve ever been around. He loves the game for what it is, he loves to see other people do well, and not just himself.
Dime: How did it feel to block LeBron?
NR: Ha. It was sweet. It was good in a way, but they (Heat) beat us in the series. I’ll take the win in the series any day over the block. I guess it gives the short people hope because basically the NBA is the best in the world. To block somebody like that, to catch him somewhat sleeping, I’ll take it. People still talk about it to this day, little kids still come up to me and say “Oh my god, I can’t believe you blocked him” like it’s something that’s impossible. If it’s impossible, so be it.
Dime: Back to Denver, has Brian Shaw explained the role he wants you to play?
NR: Be Nate Robinson. Work hard, try to do everything I do to the best of my ability. I’m gonna do that any day of the week.
Dime: Denver is a team that’s always right in the playoff mix. How far can you guys go this season?
NR: If we can continue to grow and stay together as a team, keep our poise and commitment for each other than I think we can go pretty far. A lot of teams are counting us out, I know they are, it’s just something that always happens. They always have their favorites, they pick their players, their teams, blah blah blah. But it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. If we’re one of those teams at the end of the year, fighting for that championship, that’s all that matters, no matter how we start in the beginning.
Dime: Brian Shaw has said he wants to implement “smashmouth” basketball in Denver. Can you explain what that means?
NR: Coach just wants us to play hard, that’s it. Our main thing that he always says before the game is that the first group wears them down and the second group wears them out. That’s something that we do, it’s just like tag team wrestling. Tag team is like you can’t wait to get in the game so you can finish the job and that’s what we’re gonna do. That’s gonna be our mentality throughout the whole season.
Dime: How does Sixth Man of the Year sound?
NR: It’s something I’ve been chasing throughout my whole career, I’ve been robbed of it for so many years. Not robbed, but somebody who is working as hard as me is getting it. J.R. got it last year, well deserved, he’s been one of the players that has always been in the top five for Sixth Man of the Year. Jamal Crawford won a couple years ago, who is a guy that I look up to throughout my life and career. We played on the same high school basketball team together and on the Knicks. We were the first players to ever play on the same high school and NBA team, which is a great accomplishment. It’s something that I’ve been working on getting. If it come it comes, if it doesn’t it doesn’t but I’m gonna continue to put work in to get some reward, some accomplishment. I’ve told people my goal, it’s funny that people laugh about it, but it’s a goal that I know is possible. I’ve never been an All-Star before, but I wanna try to be one of the first short All-Star players to come off the bench. Another goal I wanna get is to be the first league MVP off the bench. All the things that have never been done before, I’m trying to learn and figure out how I can do it. To better my teammates, to win a championship, to be MVP, all that, I wanna do all that.
Dime: Tell me a little bit about your offseason workout program.
NR: I really push myself in the offseason, there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t workout. I feel like if I’m not doing something with myself that I’m just wasting my time. I wanna preserve my athletic ability for as long as I can. I wanna be able to tell my kids and teach them. My sons are 9 and 7 and I tell them when they’re 18 and 20 that I still wanna be able to kick their butts, so that’s my goal. I wanna be the father that kicks their kid’s butt in everything they do. I know if I can stay fit and do that for that long then I can play in the league for as long as I can. I know my kids are very athletic, very smart and awesome kids. I probably have the best kids in the world and I’m just trying to give them the tools of working hard and what it takes. I know that if they learn from me then they will learn from the best.
Dime: Do you believe in the superstition of changing shoes in a game if you aren’t performing well?
NR: I mean, I do in a sense, because you’d be surprised how a pair of shoes can make you feel. When I wore the 13s in the playoffs, I felt invincible. I felt like these are my shoes, they’re comfortable. They look good to me, and I’m just playing great basketball in them. So, I just stuck with those throughout the whole time, I think half the season and playoffs. I think I ordered like seven pairs of those for the playoffs in case one breaks, to have a second pair, just incase something happens.
Dime: Are you thinking about signing a Jordan deal?
NR: It’s funny that you ask that. I just signed with Team Jordan on October 1. My Nike deal was up September 30. I told them I wanna wear all the retros, I’m a retro guy. I’m not so much a team shoe guy, I guess I have to wear the team shoes too. But I told them to make sure they make me some exclusive, fire, Denver color retro shoes that I can rock. If they do that, I can change the game.
What do you think?
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