Nate Robinson: Washington Booster Offered Him $100K to Return to Football Team

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 28, 2018

New Orleans Pelicans guard Nate Robinson (2) during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game in New Orleans, Friday, October 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)
Tyler Kaufman/Associated Press

Former NBA guard Nate Robinson said Tuesday that a booster offered him $100,000 per year to return to the football team at the University of Washington after he decided to focus on basketball.

On an episode of the Holdat podcast (h/t SI.com's Dan Gartland), Robinson discussed the offer:

"When they fired Rick Neuheisel my freshman year that made it easy for me to make my decision to quit and go play basketball, which I wanted to do anyway. For my three years at UW, I had a booster offer me $100,000 per year to come back and play football because they needed Nate Robinson back on the football field because we weren't winning any games, it wasn't exciting. It was crazy, we went through a dark age at the University of Washington. When Tyrone Willingham was the coach years later, we didn't win not one game. It was just crazy."

UW Athletics released a statement on Robinson's comments, per Seattle Times Sports:

Robinson spent one season on the Washington football team as a defensive back before transitioning to basketball on a full-time basis.

Robinson said he had a conversation with his mom about the offer and added it was his decision to stick with basketball:

"But a booster came to me, my mom sat down and my mom was like, 'That's a lot of money.' And she was looking at me like, 'What you want to do?' And I was like, 'I want to hoop, I don't want to take money from a booster and not knowing if this handshake is for us to keep this money, because people don't do nothing for free.' And that's what my mom taught me. What do I owe you after this? My mom was just like, 'What do you want to do? It's up you. This is your life, not mine.' I told my mom I going to have to kindly say no thank you, but my dream is to play basketball and earn everything that I got."

After a standout collegiate career on the court, Robinson was selected with the No. 21 overall pick in the first round of the 2005 NBA draft by the Phoenix Suns.

Robinson was traded to the New York Knicks on draft night, and he went on to spend 11 seasons in the NBA.

Across stints with the Knicks, Boston Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers and New Orleans Pelicans, Robinson averaged 11.0 points, 3.0 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game.

He also won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest on three occasions.

In 2016, Robinson took part in a football tryout with the Seattle Seahawks, who decided against offering him a contract.

Robinson's comments came on the heels of details regarding an FBI probe into corruption in college basketball being made public.

Last week, Pat Forde and Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports published a report based on federal documents that named several schools and current and former players to allegedly have issued or received impermissible benefits.

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