NBA veteran chasing dream of playing professional football

Photo credit - Twitter - @nate_robinson
Photo credit – Twitter – @nate_robinson

Former New York Knick and three-time NBA slam-dunk champion Nate Robinson, who turned 32 last month, aspires to try his hand at professional football after having been released by the New Orleans Pelicans last fall.

“You ask people around here they’ll know, Nate Robinson, his best sport is football,” Robinson said in a YouTube video released in March. “People tell me all the time, ‘if anybody can do it, go play football, it’s you.’ ”

A major step toward his goal came in the form of a tryout with the Seattle Seahawks on Monday.

“The biggest challenge is probably all the haters, everybody counting me out, somebody not really giving me the opportunity. That’s what I think the biggest challenge will be, getting somebody to give me that chance,” Robinson told ESPN in April. “If somebody gives me that chance, I know they’ll fall in love with the fierce competitor that I am because I catch on quick. Once I do that, then the sky’s the limit. I don’t know. It seems like they wouldn’t want me to be the first one to do something like this. That’s a huge challenge.”

Robinson was an outstanding defensive back at the University of Washington. He saw action in 13 games as a true freshman in 2002 and had two interceptions. After giving up his football career the following spring to focus on basketball, he became a first-round pick in 2005.

The Phoenix Suns drafted Robinson 21st overall in the first round of the 2005 NBA Draft and traded him to the New York Knicks, along with Quentin Richardson, for Kurt Thomas and Dijon Thompson.

Robinson played for the Knicks until 2010 when he was traded to the Boston Celtics, and eventually played for six other teams over his NBA career.

Given the extended length of time Robinson has been away from football, many are calling his bid a long shot. Another factor is Seattle’s depth at defensive back. The team’s recent re-signing of cornerback Jeremy Lane and the return of veteran Brandon Browner have some observers calling it the deepest Seahawks secondary since 2013.

According to NFL Network reports, the Seahawks won’t be signing Robinson anytime soon, but they will “keep in contact for down the road.”

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