Nate on D&H: ‘These are some pretty big shoes to fill’
|02.26.10 at 3:09 pm ET|
Recently acquired Celtics guard Nate Robinson appeared on the Dale & Holley show Friday afternoon to talk about how he is taking to his new home in Boston. Robinson said that he is going to “do my job and just try to help this team win as many games as we can” as he takes the place of the Eddie House off the bench.
Robinson talked about his appreciation for the history of his new team as a fan of the game of basketball. “I know the Celtics and the Celtics and Lakers, the dynamic in the past in the NBA they have been the two dominant teams in the world,” he said. “So it’s just good to be a part of it and hopefully I can make some history here.
He also touched on some of the negative perceptions that came out of the end of his tenure in New York, where Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni benched him for part of the season. Said Robinson: “Him putting me on the bench was his decision. I couldn’t argue against it. So, I had to sit there and wait my turn and be patient.” As for negative opinions, Robinson said that, “Me personally, I don’t really care at all if people like me or if they don’t. I’m here to play the game the right way and the best way I know how.”
The three-time champion of the All-Star dunk contest also added his thoughts on the event. Though he said that he is done dunking in the event, Robinson does not feel that the format of the marquee feature of All-Star Saturday needs to be tinkered with.”You’ve just got to find different guys to make it interesting. You have to get guys that want to do it. You can’t put guys in there who want to do it just to do it,” he said.
A full transcript of the interview is below. To listen, click here.
How has your experience been in the green so far?
The experience has been great. The guys have welcomed me with open arms, now we have to just try to put games together and try to win as many games as we can to finish up the second half of the season.
Did you seek a trade out of New York?
No, I didn’t seek a trade. I know these are some pretty big shoes to fill — Eddie House’s — because the Boston fans loved him and they gave him a standing ovation [Tuesday night]. So I’m just trying to do my job and just try to help this team win as many games as we can.
What happened in New York with coach Mike D’Antoni?
Honestly, me and Coach had a great relationship, that’s why I’m not really sure what happened. But things happen for a reason; I went through my trials and tribulations and through my storm and I made it through it. I’m tough and I passed with flying colors. Coach is a great guy. He’s a great coach. He does everything his way. As players, you’ve definitely got to respect that. And I respected him and his decisions. Him putting me on the bench was his decision. I couldn’t argue against it. So, I had to sit there and wait my turn and be patient.
Were you surprised that Doc [Rivers] used you as much as he did [Thursday] night with Rajon Rondo?
Right now it makes it easier because I don’t really know all the plays, I know basic. So he wanted to get me out there to get me a good feel for the game and playing out there and playing with different guys. I’m a fast learner, so I’m going to try to learn the plays as fast as I can so that we can limit [Rondo’s] time so that he doesn’t have to be so tired. Because he played like 45 minutes last night. Just to give him a rest because we know the playoffs are coming. So I try to do everything I can to give him a rest and come in and help the team.
What is a harder thing to learn, the plays or the players?
A little bit of both. Learning everything, but just continue to play my game. That is what I have to do, just be Nate Robinson. Be that guy that plays hard and does everything accordingly. Score the basketball, get guys involved and make my teammates better.
What did you know about the Celtics before you came to town?
Just the history. The most winning team in basketball, 18 [actually 17] banners, so many different things and so many greats. I’m a big basketball fan and I just follow basketball itself. I know the Celtics and the Celtics and Lakers, the dynamic in the past in the NBA they have been the two dominant teams in the world. So it’s just good to be a part of it and hopefully I can make some history here.
In high school you were not only the best basketball player in the state, but also the best football player. Did you ever think about playing football?
The decision was easy to make because I just love the game of basketball. I just knew this is where I wanted to be and I wasn’t going to take no for an answer.
I heard you say you want to be known for more than dunking. Do you think you are done competing in dunk contests?
Yeah, I’m done. I’m taking off my sneakers for that. But it’s cool because I made history. That’s something my kids can always go back and say, “My dad was the first three-time dunk champion.” It’s fun. I’ve been myself … I fulfilled my dreams and I kept my faith strong. I believed in myself and believed in God and he helped me through all my trials and tribulations.
Now that you are a three-time champion and are on the outside looking in, is it time to shuffle that competition around? Is it getting stale?
It’s not, you’ve just got to find different guys to make it interesting. You have to get guys that want to do it. You can’t put guys in there who want to do it just to do it. You know what I mean?
I think part of that is creativity, too.
Yeah, that’s why you have to get bigger names and different guys. Just add something different to it, that’s all.
Before you came to town, I used to say, “Nate Robinson, this guy drives me crazy.” I call it the Joakim Noah effect — high-energy guys get under your skin. Has anyone said that to you before?
Everybody has their own opinion. Me, I’m the type of person I don’t really care what people think about me. If you like me or not, I could care less. Because I’m a firm believer in God. Only God can judge me. So I really do not care what other people say. But everybody has their own opinion. Freedom of speech. It’s the First Amendment. Me, I play the game how I think it’s supposed to be played, which is hard. I play hard and I play for the love. Some guys may get on your nerves, but you’ve just got to get to know their game. Because in the NBA you’ve got guys who can play the game of basketball. Some people might like other players better, some might not like some guys at all. So me personally, I don’t really care at all if people like me or if they don’t. I’m here to play the game the right way and the best way I know how.
Do you see much difference style-wise between Mike D’Antoni in New York and Doc here?
D’Antoni is big on offense, Doc is big on defense. That’s the difference. They are both great head coaches but one focuses a lot on offense and one focuses a lot on defense.
Is the atmosphere different here with the Big Three?
Yeah, you can say that. They are like the older big brothers. In New York, we were a bunch of young guys; young, goofy but we just loved the game and played the game for what it is. The last five years we didn’t make the playoffs so we didn’t know what that feeling was, and [Kevin Garnett] and those guys made the playoffs and won a championship so they know what to expect. So it’s a different transitioning coming in, but I always think about the Charles Darwin theory survival of the fittest. So you’ve got to survive and adapt.
I’ve always had a theory about players under 6 feet tall. I think guys spend so much time trying to take advantage of the height difference that it takes them out of their normal game. Do you find that?
No, they just play the game for what it is. You’ve got to find your mismatches and you’ve got to exploit them. You’ve got to capitalize, and that is what the NBA is all about. Reading different situations and trying to overcome everything.
What is your approach when you are guarding a guy who is 6-foot-1, 6-foot-2?
Just make them feel uncomfortable the best way I know. Make them feel uncomfortable and worry about me stealing the ball, dribbling, denying them the ball, help-side defense, whatever it is I can do to make them feel uncomfortable. So they don’t feel comfortable and start stepping in and making their shots. Get in their confidence and just try to lower their confidence as much as I can.