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Forget LeBron – Nate Robinson Says He’d Be One of NFL’s Best

Basketball, football, other football -- Nate Robinson can do it all. And he'll gladly tell you so. (Image by sukhchander via Flickr)

Basketball, football, other football — Nate Robinson can do it all. And he’ll gladly tell you so. (Image by sukhchander via Flickr)

This past weekend was chock-full of NBA players voicing their dreams to play in the NFL. It started with LeBron James’s continued dalliance with the idea that he’d love to play in an NFL game; on Friday, during a twitter Q&A, James said that he “wants to play in one NFL game before it’s over.” Presumably, the “it” here refers to LeBron’s athletic career, unless he knows of some secret Illuminati plan to bring about the downfall of the NFL and usher in a new era of NBA dominance. Then, on Saturday night, Jamieson Welsh at friends-of-the-website Believe the Hype caught up with Nate Robinson after his Denver Nuggets took on the Los Angeles Lakers in a preseason game in Las Vegas. The NFL once again came up, and Nate Rob was anything but shy in voicing his opinion on how his NFL career might have gone:

“It was fun for me & it came pretty easy.”

“To me it’d be scary to think about my future in football. If I really gave it my all & stopped focusing on basketball, gave everything I have on football, I’d probably be one of the best corners the NFL has ever seen.” [...] “I don’t know, I’d be pretty damn good though. If I was in the NFL I’d probably be at least first or second best DB in the NFL.” “One, two or three I’d say. (Darrelle) Revis is pretty solid, Patrick Peterson is pretty solid & you got my man (Richard) Sherman holding it down. It’d be a tough position.”

via Nate Robinson says he’d be one of the best NFL players ever | Believe The Hype.

Oh, I’m sorry. Did I say Robinson waxed poetic on how his NFL career might have gone? What I meant to say was that Nate Robinson is in full Nate Robinson-mode, a state of mind where every cell in the human body is oversaturated with confidence and one’s mitochondrial DNA is replaced with tiny Kevin Garnetts shouting “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!”

Robinson, of course, played football for a year at the University of Washington before he concentrated on basketball. That’s worked out pretty well for him so far, but it’s fun to dream about what might have been.

True, there’s the slight issue of Robinson’s size — as Dan Devine over at Yahoo’s Ball Don’t Lie points out, there isn’t much of a history of someone of Robinson’s stature succeeding as a cornerback in the NATIONAL. FOOTBALL. LEAGUE. That’s doubly true for the level at which Robinson expects he could play. But I think there’s another route that Robinson could have gone: he could have been one of the greatest kick returners in history.

Imagine the “We’re going streaking!” speed at which Robinson whips around a basketball court, careening into opponents and teammates alike and carving out space where there is none in direct defiance of the Pauli exclusion principle. Put that same waterbug agility on a football field, returning kicks with a head of steam and making people look silly as they try to grasp the ethereal phantom that flashes in and out of their field of vision in less time than it takes Robinson to win over a fanbase. He only returned six kicks in his time at Washington, for a 17.2-yard average, but I have every faith that a larger sample size would result in Robinson scoring roughly eleventy billion touchdowns per season.

Here’s to the dreamers. Here’s to Nate Robinson.

Andrew Lynch

When God Shammgod created the basketball universe, Andrew Lynch was there. His belief in the superiority of advanced statistics and the eventual triumph of expected value-based analytics stems from the fact that he’s roughly as old as the concept of counting. With that said, he still loves the beauty of basketball played at the highest level — it reminds him of the splendor of the first Olympics — and the stories that spring forth from the games, since he once beat Homer in a game of rock-paper-scissors over a cup of hemlock. Dude’s old.