Nate Robinson Speaks out Against NBA Referees: 'They Hate Me, They Hate Me'

Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistDecember 1, 2013

USA Today

Trouble is brewing between Nate Robinson and the NBA's referees. 

Robinson picked up a technical foul in the fourth quarter of the Denver Nuggets' Friday night victory against the New York Knicks. With the outcome of the game still in question, Robinson's display of raw emotion with the Nuggets up just five could've proved costly. Fortunately for Denver, it didn't, and Robinson learned his lesson.

Or not.

When talking about the technical, Robinson indicated he wasn't so much sorry as he was victimized, according to The Denver Post's Christopher Dempsey:

They hate me, they hate me. I don’t know why, but it is what it is. I already know I’ve got the target on my back, but I’ll play through it; I don’t care. I really don’t. It doesn’t bother me none. If I get a call, I get a call. If I don’t, I don’t. If I get a tech, hopefully it’s not in the fourth quarter. Hopefully I don’t get any more. But I know I will. It’s nothing new for me.

At least he's being honest, right? Plenty of players would have spoke under a false guise, promising that they wouldn't let their emotions get the best of them and assuring their team that it wouldn't happen again.

But not Robinson. He's no liar. He knows more whistles are on the way, more technicals are in his future and that they may even come in the fourth quarter of a close game. 

While his attention to transparency is appreciated, Robinson might want to slow his roll. Deserved or not, the whistles will keep coming, and it's in his best interests to conform, not test the rocky relationship he apparently shares with the league's zebras.

"I’m going to have to talk to him about controlling his emotions," Nuggets head coach Brian Shaw said, via Dempsey." "It’s almost like he has a target on his back, and the referees are just not going to tolerate him saying anything to them at all."

This means mum should be the word for Robinson. The undersized guard is notorious for being a hothead, the kind that drives coaches and referees mad.

Every team he's played for—all six of them—have seen a side of Robinson they could do without. There's a reason he hasn't spent a full two seasons with the same team since being traded from the New York Knicks, one that extends beyond him standing at just 5'9".

Robinson's personality, much like his play style, can be electric and damaging, mesmerizing and frustrating. It can be both the greatest and worst thing ever. Ask Doc Rivers, Mike D'Antoni or Tom Thibodeau.

But then ask Thibs how much the Chicago Bulls miss Robinson now that Derrick Rose is down again. As CSN Chicago's Aggrey Sam writes, the Bulls could certainly use him now. 

That's the thing about Robinson: Sometimes you just can't live without him. Targets on his back, recurrent whistles and all.