Little Nate The Great Is Standing Tall

By Jerold LeVon Hoover
Updated: November 9, 2006

NEW YORK � He stands about 5-foot-7, although he�s generously listed at 5-foot-9. He�s as compact as a fire hydrant. He can dunk a basketball from a standstill position.

He has a heart the size of Mount Everest and he�s a bundle of non stop oomph. He played defensive back on the University of Washington’s football team as a freshman and did quite well, following in the foot steps of his father Jacque who was a standout running back.

He�s New York Knicks dynamic reserve guard, Nate Robinson.

Nate cannot be categorized as a point guard solely, because he�s not. He�s not the pass first, set up your teammate�s type. And he cannot be labeled as a two guard either because of his diminutive size.

But, with the infusion of get-up-and-go that he brings: a timely rebound, a clutch jumpshot and all out fearlessness, he�s someone that you just want on your team.

San Antonio Spurs coach Greg Popvich said of Nate, �He�s quick and he goes in there without fear. So it shows what kind of player they have on the team.�

And no, Nate who is a freakish natural athlete, should not supplant either current starter, Stephon Marbury or Steve Francis, his height would then become a real liability.

Although Nate is often found matching bodies against a power forward or a two guard almost a foot taller. He takes great pride in his defense and he�s not easy to be posted up.

But, as a change-of-pace type of player when the Knicks are sluggish and down several points, there are very few like him. Earl Boykins of the Denver Nuggets who stands about 5-foot-4 is a similar player but he clearly isn�t as strong or as energetic as Nate.

But, for all of Nate�s greatness there are times when coaches and teammates alike would like to choke er� harness some of that vigor into a more controlled atmosphere to where he�s not running around like a chicken with his head cut off and thus making foolish plays.

When Robinson goes off on a tangent, something that used to drive former Knicks coach Larry Brown nuts, so much so, he once called him, �a highlight reel�, he can shoot or errant pass you out of a game.

But, when he�s on and he has been one of the few Knicks this young season that has been, he can be a handful for the opposing teams.

Head coach Isiah Thomas once said while he was evaluating Nate just before the draft last year, �If Nate were 6-foot-4 and over he would have been the top pick in the draft.�

That is how much he thought of his athleticism and raw basketball skills. The Knicks thus far have a long ways to go in becoming a team to beat as they have talented ball players but still in the fundamental challenged stage to where they don�t use wit to go with grit.

But, if they stay the course with players such as Nate the Great as he calls himself, the future will start to shine bright.

Isiah recently stated that he�s, �looking for a few good men. A few good men that would put up a fight.� And Nate being such a crowd pleaser, Isiah has the best of both worlds.