Slight of frame even for an NBA player, Nate Robinson announced on March 10 that he intends to make a transition to the NFL gridiron.
The diminutive 31-year-old guard, who is currently a free agent, released a video through The Lead Sports to break the news of his plans to audition for NFL teams:
Robinson played football at the University of Washington but shifted his focus solely to basketball when he was a sophomore. He recorded two interceptions and 34 tackles playing for the Huskies as a freshman cornerback in 2002, per GoHuskies.com.
Rick Neuheisel, Robinson's coach at Washington, said in the video, "In my mind, I've seen one athlete that could do this, and that's Nate Robinson."
Robinson confirmed his future NFL ambitions to reporters on Thursday:
That sentiment was shared by current NFL tight end Marcedes Lewis and NBA veterans Jamal Crawford and Glen Davis.
On March 12, Brent Stecker of 710 ESPN Seattle relayed comments Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse made on 710 ESPN Seattle's Danny, Dave and Moore on Friday about Robinson playing in the NFL:
You know what? I want Seattle to give him a chance. So if he would come into the league, he would be considered what, a rookie, right? ... He'd be a rookie, so give him a shot at rookie minicamp. ...
I watched a couple games when he was at UW, and he was a baller. He was an athletic guy.
To his credit, Robinson demonstrated an impressive knowledge of football coverage techniques and how to play the cornerback position in his announcement. Check out some throwback footage of Robinson's highlight reel from high school:
Basketball-Reference.com lists Robinson at just 5'9" and 180 pounds, but his skill set may indeed allow him to play pro football.
Whatever Robinson has lacked in size over the years, he's made up for with explosive, quick-twitch athleticism and competitive grit. Both qualities will be required if he hopes to make an impact at the NFL level, especially after more than a decade away from the game.
As a three-time NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion, though, Robinson has the type of leaping ability needed to play bigger than his size.
Robinson does boast an exceptional strength-to-weight ratio, which is necessary to finish craftily at the rim and absorb punishment when driving to the basket. The question is whether he can become physical enough to hit in the NFL. The jump from college football to the pros is drastic, but there are multiple credible people who have seen what Robinson can do and vouch for him.
In the absence of any NBA teams calling for his services, this foray into football could add a unique chapter to Robinson's athletic career.