Oklahoma City Thunder guard Nate Robinson is making alternative plans should the NBA go into an extended lockout as many fear.
Rather than sit and take it easy or sign with an international basketball team, he told Tzvi Twersky of SLAM that he "might go play football."
Now, before you simply laugh off the idea of the 27 year-old attempting to make this career change, know this. Long before Robinson starred as a point guard for the University of Washington, was selected in the first round of the 2005 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns and won three Slam Dunk championships, he was a standout cornerback for then-head coach Rick Neuheisel's Husky football team.
Robinson, following the footsteps of his father, Jacque Robinson, signed with the Huskies on a football scholarship. He only played one season for the football team, but saw action in all 13 games as a true freshman, starting the final five contests and recording 34 tackles and two interceptions.
Statistics rarely tell the whole story and that is certainly the case here.
The 5-09, 180 pound Robinson is an extraordinary athlete whose quickness, vertical jump and surprising physicality always made him a better candidate for the NFL than the NBA, at least that was the opinion of one young NFL Draft analyst back in 2003. He certainly has been blessed with athletic genes. Father Jacque is the only player in college football history to have been named the MVP of the Rose Bowl (1982) and the Orange Bowl (1985). A running back, he was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the eighth round in 1985 and later played with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Gil Brandt of NFL.com agrees that Robinson could play in the NFL and emphatically states, "If I were a team that needed a cornerback, I'd sure as hell give Robinson a call."Brandt, of course, prior to working with the NFL as an analyst, spent nearly 30 years as the Dallas Cowboys' Vice President of Player Personnel.
It has been nearly ten years since Robinson played competitive football with helmets and pads. That said, there were many who doubted whether he could make the leap from the Pac-10 to the NBA strictly because of his lack of prototype height. His height wouldn't be quite the detriment as a nickel or dime cornerback, however, precisely why Robinson could surprise if given an opportunity.