We've heard of NBA players choosing their jersey numbers to motivate themselves, to pay homage to a family member or as some sort of commemoration, but now Lionel Messi is serving as inspiration.
Who'd have thought it would be Nate Robinson, not Steve Nash or one of the other soccer players in the Association, who would don the No. 10 in honor of the Barcelona striker?
Beyond the Buzzer has the scoop for us:
Robinson also revealed more on his motivation in an interview with Nate Timmons of Denver Stiffs:
I usually dig the single digit numbers, but No. 2 is retired. Alex English, great player. He was my coach at predraft camp when I played in Chicago. He was my coach and I averaged like 22 points and 8 assists, something like that, and he was just letting me go. I was like, "Man, it's a pleasure. You rocked my favorite number." I knew exactly who he was and I was like, "Man that No. 2, there is something special about it." I'm going to change it up and wear No. 10. I'm going to wear it for [Lionel] Messi, that's my favorite soccer player. I've been playing a lot of FIFA lately and watching the games. He's the best little guy to do it and I've got to be the best little guy to do it at No. 10 in the NBA. That's my goal.
If the diminutive point guard can be anywhere near as impressive on the hardwood as Messi is on the pitch, the Denver Nuggets will have landed the free-agent steal of the century.
Last I checked, Messi was up there with LeBron James in the conversation for the coveted—and ultimately unofficial— title of "most dominant player in sports." His scoring prowess for Barcelona is nothing short of legendary, and some of the touches you see in that video to the right will leave your jaw touching the floor.
Messi is only 5'7," so perhaps the 5'9" point guard also likes him because he makes him feel tall. It must be rough to have 7-footers tower over you like trees on a consistent basis, especially when they won't let you jump over them like they do in dunk contests.
Although Robinson will be the best little guy wearing No. 10 during the 2013-14 season, he has his work cut out for him if he wants to expand the timeframe. Some All-Star point guard named Mookie Blaylock stood only 6'0" and wore No. 10 throughout his career.
Robinson should make a run at Sixth Man of the Year for Denver, but only if he remembers (A) not to use his feet and (B) to start bending in his free throws.