Nate Robinson Bigger Than Basketball
By Oliver Maroney August 24, 2019
Miami, Florida — Nate Robinson had prepared for the latest BIG3 game just as he’s done for the past season — arrive a few hours early, dress down, get some shots up and then wait for the moment when he steps onto the floor. With Tri-State at 2-4 and eliminated from the playoffs with a loss in Miami, he knew he’d be needed in order for his team to have a chance. Facing the defending champions Power, who only had one loss to their name, Tri-State would be heavy underdogs heading into the highly anticipated match-up.
The game tipped-off and early-on, it went as expected. Tri-State went into halftime down 7, as Robinson came off the bench to begin the game. Tri-State played Robinson sparingly in the first half, as Power led the way to the half time break.
As the second half began, we saw much of the same. That is, until the game was 37-31 in favor of Power. Robinson stepped onto the floor and his teammate Jason Richardson rallied with five points, while Robinson hit a three to tie the game at 39. Robinson then hit another three, as Tri-State started applying pressure to a Power team that hadn’t been down late in games very often.
At 47-41, Tri-State had almost completed an unthinkable turnaround. The defending champions and league leader, Power, would let a 6-point lead slip and allowed Tri-State into their own 6-point lead with game-point coming. This was Robinson’s moment.
All throughout Robinson’s basketball career, he’d hit game winners and he’d been in these types of situations. But, what was different about this game was that his daughter, for the first time, would get to see her father playing on that big stage with a potential game-winning opportunity. And Robinson wasn’t going to let that opportunity go to waste.
With game-point on the line, Robinson took matters into his own hands. He dribbled up to the three-point line and created a mismatch with Power’s Glen Davis, after Robinson got by his first defender. A dribble between the legs from Robinson and a slight bobble of the ball sent Davis diving to the ground to try and get possession. But Robinson was tooquick and recovered his dribble, going backwards to go forwards. Davis, to his credit, got back up from the fall quickly trying to get back to Robinson. But Robinson had one clear sight at a shot — just behind the three-point line. The ball left his hands and Davis trailed under him as he released the ball. As the shot went in, AmericanAirlines Arena erupted as we saw Shrek pick up Donkey in the picture seen around the world. Davis was seen holding Nate as he was coming down in the air from the game winner.
After the game, as the arena was still buzzing in excitement, Robinson headed back to the locker room. The roaring crowds dissipated as he made his way back, but loud cheering from one individual remained and echoed through the halls — his daughter.
“I’ve hit game winners before, I’ve hit big shots,” Robinson told me. “But it really means a lot when it’s someone you love that’s there for it. As a father, you just always hope they’re able to see you be at your best. So that was just amazing. A moment I’ll never forget.”
The game was great, the game winner was an incredible scene. But, the most impactful part was the part that very few saw. That moment where his daughter and him were in the locker room celebrating together and cheering in excitement. That is what separates the league from any other.
“My mom and family are just happy that Ice Cube and company gave me a chance to be myself and play the game I love. This is amazing.” Nate added.