After Derrick Rose tore his ACL in the Playoffs last season, Chicago had to ensure they were equipped with sufficient backup while their MVP went through the daunting recovery. Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau knew he had a reliable veteran in Kirk Hinrich, but he needed to acquire a suitable reserve to help shoulder some of the load.
That’s when Thibodeau reached out to the wily Nate Robinson, formerly of the Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder, Boston Celtics and New York Knicks. Robinson is a guy who’s known for coming off the bench to put up buckets in a flash. And with Rose out indefinitely, Thibodeau knew he needed someone who could help replace Rose’s offensive production.
The Bulls (29-19) have played well without Rose in the lineup and sit atop the Central Division tied with the Indiana Pacers. Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer have stepped up to solidify their presence down low, while Luol Deng has accepted his role as the closer for the team.
But after the default starting point guard Hinrich went down with an elbow injury, it was time for Robinson to step in and assume the role of floor general. To that end, Thibodeau said of Robinson, “He’s had some big games and I think he’s put a lot of work into his defense—he’s been a catalyst for us all season.”
In the last five games, Robinson is averaging 18.0 points, 6.2 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game. He’s also scored in double figures in the last 10 straight. Since being placed into the starting role, Robinson has led the team to a 3-1 record, and earned his first ever Eastern Conference Player of the Week award.
Before taking on the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, Robinson sat down with SLAMonline to talk about what it’s like to play in the City of Chicago, his experiences at All-Star Weekend, and more.
SLAM: What’s it like to play for coach Tom Thibodeau?
Nate Robinson: Coach is a drill sergeant, and we’re his warriors. Everything we do, we go over and over. We got to be ready. It’s kind of like when you play Call of Duty, everybody has their job and if one person messes up, it messes up the whole operation. We’re a unit and we move as one.
SLAM: He’s known for his defensive coaching, and in that sense, how does he differ from other coaches you’ve been around?
NR: For him, defense wins Championships, and it wins a lot more games than offense. So we just go out there and try to play as hard as we can on defense, and the offense will take care of itself.
SLAM: How is the basketball culture in Chicago different from other cities you’ve played in?
NR: I mean you got so many historical guys who have played for this team. You got Michael Jordan, the face of the NBA and the best player to ever play the game. Then you got guys like Scottie Pippen…There’s just so much history, and being in Chicago is different because they really love their basketball. It’s just great to be a part of, it’s kind of hard to describe but the feeling is unbelievable when you put on this jersey and you’re representing the Bulls and all of the late greats, it’s been awesome.
NEW YORK, Feb. 4, 2013 – The Chicago Bulls’ Nate Robinson and the Golden State Warriors’ David Lee today were named Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Jan. 28 through Sunday, Feb. 3.
Robinson led the Bulls to a 3-1 week, which included road wins over the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks. He averaged 17.8 points, tied for second in the conference with 2.50 spg and placed third in the East with 6.8 apg. Robinson has scored in double figures in 10 consecutive games for the Central Division-leading Bulls, who stand third overall in the East at 29-18 (.617).
Lee averaged 18.0 points, 14.3 rebounds and 7.8 assists as he helped the Warriors to a 4-0 week. He posted a point-rebound double-double in each contest, improving his NBA-leading double-double total to 31 on the year. The Warriors’ 30-17 (.638) record is good for second in the Pacific Division and fifth in the conference. Lee becomes the first Warriors player to win two Player of the Week awards in the same season since Baron Davis in 2005.
Here is a recap of the week for Robinson and Lee:
Nate Robinson, Chicago Bulls
Jan. 28 vs. Charlotte: Tallied 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists, three blocks and three steals in a 93-85 win over the Bobcats.
Jan. 30 @ Milwaukee: Posted 24 points, four assists and three steals during a 104-88 win over the Bucks.
Feb. 2 @ Atlanta: Collected 20 points, eight assists and three steals in a 93-76 win over the Hawks.
David Lee, Golden State Warriors
Jan. 28 @ Toronto: Collected 21 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists in a 114-102 win over the Raptors.
Jan. 29 @ Cleveland: Posted 20 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists in a 108-95 win over the Cavaliers.
Jan. 31 vs. Dallas: Tallied 15 points, 20 rebounds and nine assists in a 100-97 victory over the Mavericks.
Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Brooklyn’s Brook Lopez, Denver’s Danilo Gallinari, Houston’s Omer Asik, Miami’s LeBron James and New York’s Tyson Chandler.
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. – The Pac-12 Conference will honor 11 former student-athletes and one former coach with their induction into the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Hall of Honor. The induction will occur on Saturday, March 16, during a ceremony prior to the Championship Game at the 2013 Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.
The individuals to be inducted are: Jason Gardner (Arizona), Dennis Hamilton (Arizona State), Shareef Abdur-Rahim (California), Cliff Meely (Colorado), Chuck Rask (Oregon), Charlie Sitton (Oregon State), Ron Tomsic (Stanford), Lucius Allen (UCLA), Forrest Twogood (USC), Keith Van Horn (Utah), Nate Robinson (Washington) and James McKean (Washington State).
Nate Robinson, Washington – Robinson was a two-sport athlete shining not only on the basketball court, but also as a defensive back on the football field for the Washington Huskies. Robinson made an impact on the basketball team immediately as he led the team with 13.0 points per game his freshman year and made the Pac-12 All-Freshman team. He continued his success into his sophomore season in 2004 when he scored a team-high 13.2 ppg and led the Huskies to their first post-season appearance under head coach Lorenzo Romar. He led the team in scoring for a third straight year increasing his points to 16.4 points per game for his junior season. He was recognized that year as a third-team All-American and first team All-Pac-10 selection. The Huskies finished 29-6 that season, won the 2005 Pac-12 tournament championship and obtained the school’s first-ever No. 1 NCAA tournament seed, where they advanced to the Sweet 16. Robinson left Washington after his junior season declaring for the NBA Draft. He was selected in the first round of the 2005 NBA Draft by the the Phoenix Suns with the 21st overall pick. He was then traded to the New York Knicks where he played from 2005-2010. He currently plays for the Chicago Bulls, but played for the Boston Celtics (2010-11), Oklahoma City Thunder (2011) and the Golden State Warriors (2012). Robinson is the only three-time winner of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest, winning the title in 2006, 2009 and 2010.
Nate Robinson scored 16 of his 24 points in the second quarter, leading the Chicago Bulls to a 104-88 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.
Jimmy Butler, a second-year pro from Marquette, had 18 points and five rebounds in a return to the arena where he played college basketball.
Samuel Dalembert had 14 points and a season-high 13 rebounds for the Bucks. Ersan Ilyasova added 18 points and seven rebounds.
Chicago broke open the game midway through the second quarter, using a 20-4 run to take a 49-30 lead. The run included a long 3-point shot by Robinson, who capped the rally with a driving layup. He was fouled on the play by Brandon Jennings, and converted the free throw.
Robinson, who also had a breakaway dunk during the run, shot 7 for 9 from the floor during the quarter to help Chicago take a 55-37 lead at the half.
The Chicago Bulls will host a holiday party for 100 local children at the Bulls training facility, the Berto Center, on Sunday, December 9.
The Bulls partnered with the USO to invite 65 children who either have a parent currently deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan or who have lost a loved one serving in the armed forces. The Bulls also invited 35 academic all-star students who live in CHA housing. The students were selected by CHA based on an essay, their school attendance and GPA.
Bulls players will participate in holiday activities with the children, including helping them create holiday cards and video messages to send to the troops. Everyone attending will also be able to enjoy a photo booth and a cookie decorating station.
All the children will receive a gift personally donated by Nate Robinson.
Lunch will be provided by the Bulls and team partners McDonald’s, Hinckley Springs and Edy’s® Grand Ice Cream.
The Bulls coordinated the event as part of NBA Cares Season of Giving, a league-wide initiative that aims to brighten the holidays for thousands of children and families across the country.
When Nate Robinson and the Bulls visited Los Angeles in late November, Nate and teammate Taj Gibson received an invite to visit Treyarch Studios. Treyarch is the studio that develops the hit video game series Call of Duty. Nate is know by fans as a HUGE call of duty fan and jumped at the opportunity to visit the studio. While there, Nate got to meet and play against the Call of Duty developers and get some previews of what’s to come in future games.
We recently wrote about how NBA fans are being introduced to budding star Damian Lillard through his YouTube documentary series, as well as how a similar Adidas project called “The Return of D.Rose” is giving fans a window into injured superstar Derrick Rose’s comeback from injury.
Fellow NBA guard Nate Robinson, however, has been in the YouTube mini-documentary game longer than either of them. He’s among the first players have made use of the genre’s easy storytelling potential and his series, “State of Nate,” is now midway through its second season.
Robinson says he initially wanted to make the mini docs as a way for his kids to be able to look back on their childhoods later, but since then the videos have become a hit with fans and been viewed nearly 1.5 million times in total. Producer TJ Regan says they’ve served in large part to give fans a deeper look at a player known mostly for his diminutive stature (he stands just five-foot-nine) and hyperactive playing style.
“We wanted to just show the world who he was,” Regan says. “Nate has always been seen by the world as a different type of person, he’s always very hyped all of the time. This really gives you a look at who he is and shows you that that’s really his personality 24/7.”
Check out Nate Robinson on Chicago Tribune Live with his Chicago Bulls teammate Carlos Boozer.