Even basketball fans are guilty of a little football fever at the end of the summer. We all know of the success that Charlie Ward had both on the gridiron for Florida State and the hardwood for the New York Knicks, but he’s certainly not the only one to play college football before suiting up in the blue and orange. Nate Robinson is known for an array of things both on and off the court in New York, but before he was winning dunk contests and igniting The Garden, he was an undersized cornerback at the University of Washington.
Robinson used videos like the one above the receive recruitment from tons of top notch college football programs. The same athleticism that made him one of the most notable dunkers in the NBA gave him big play potential on the football field, but because of his size and the love for basketball, he only lasted one season on the gridiron. Despite getting more playing time than a true freshman could ever ask for from the football program, I guess the allure of playing his favorite sport next to a college stud like Brandon Roy was too much to pass up.
Nate put up tons of highlights on one of the best teams in University of Washington history, leading them to a Sweet Sixteen appearance in 2005.
After falling out of favor with Mike D’Antoni in 2010, Nate left New York on a sour note, but despite his presence during some of the darkest years in Knicks history, there was tons to cheer for throughout the four seasons prior. Robinson is the NBA’s only three-time Slam Dunk champion and was the spark plug necessary to keep fans in the seats of bad teams. My personal favorite highlight is his block on Yao Ming, and the ensuing reaction of the 7-footer looking like little Nate just blinded him for life. I guess that’s the only way to play off being swatted by someone almost two feet smaller than you.
We were all hoping for his return this summer, but instead we’ll have to put up with him going off against the Knicks for years to come. At the very least we should be thankful that he’s not any taller, because we probably would have missed out the entire basketball career of Nate Robinson.