Former Washington standout Nate Robinson tells his story in the newly released book Heart Over Height that he penned with writer Jon Finkel.
Despite standing just 5 feet 9, the former Rainier Beach High great starred for the Huskies in football and basketball. He was taken in the first round (21st overall) of the 2005 NBA draft. The three-time NBA Slam Dunk winner has played nine years in the NBA filled with highlights.
Here’s an except from Chapter I.
My cousin Passion taught me everything I knew before I ever played organized ball or five-on-five ball or anything. She taught me how to dribble, how to shoot and how to work hard. She would wake up at six in the morning and wake me up and make me do drills with her. It was funny because she never let me shoot while she worked out. I would just rebound and pass, rebound and pass. She was showing me patience; she said if I rebounded and pass well she’d let me shoot when she was done. She’s the reason I do the behind-the-back thing when I shoot my free throws. Since she used to do it, I learned it. She taught me about dedication at a very young age. It also helped that when it came to basketball, and sports in general, things just came naturally to me, like jumping. I could touch a regulation-NBA backboard when I was 10-years-old – and I wasn’t even five feet tall.
Another thing that helped me was that I was faster than all the other kids and I learned things quicker. My mom says that I was walking before I was seven months old and that I was riding a bike around age two. I have three kids of my own and I know that I did those things way earlier than they did. Since I was hitting those milestones so soon, I guess it shouldn’t have been that much of a surprise that when the time came, I picked up the finer points of basketball fast as well.
Still, I can’t really explain my early development, other than to say it always felt like my body was built to run and jump. I was so blessed with a strong work ethic for things I liked, which allowed me to spend hours practicing sports without a break when other kids get bored. When you combine those things, it gave me an edge over kids my age, even though I was usually smaller.
The one thing that I do know is that I got my athleticism from my dad. He was a star running back at the University of Washington and was the MVP of two Rose Bowls. He was drafted by the Buffalo Bills but didn’t really play much in the NFL.
Washington coach Lorenzo Romar penned an acknowledgement. He wrote: “Even if Nate didn’t play another day in the league, he’s proven so many people wrong and exceeded everyone’s expectations. He’s scored 40 in an NBA game. He’s won three dunk contests. He’s been amazing.”
WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON LINKS
— Bid day for Washington. According to several recruiting sites, big man Benny Boatwright, a 6-8, 210-pound 2015 prospect, is taking an unofficial visit to UW on Wednesday with his family. He’s expected to tour Washington State on Thursday and conclude the trip with a visit to Gonzaga on Friday. Boatwright is considered a four-star prospect, according to the major recruiting sites.
— Washington offered a scholarship to Matisse Thybulle, a 2015 prospect from Eastside Catholic, according to recruiting analyst Jason McCleary.
— So long KJR and hello KOMO. The Huskies announced that they’ve agreed to a six-year deal to broadcast football and basketball games on KOMO Newsradio 1000-AM and 97.7 FM. The deal ends after the 2019-20 season. UW games had been aired on KJR since 2002. Bob Rondeau returns as the play-by-play announcer.
— Arizona State is the Pac-12’s mystery team next season, according to Doug Haller at the Arizona Republic. The Sun Devils’ highly touted incoming freshmen class could offset the loss of three starters.
— Arizona Daily Star’s Bruce Pascoe talks about incoming Wildcats freshman Stanley Johnson.
— ESPN.com is counting down the top 50 coaches. No. 14 on the list is VCU’s Shaka Smart. Pac-12 coaches on the list include: UCLA’s Steve Alford (36) and Colorado’s Tad Boyle (34). You have to assume Arizona’s Sean Miller will land in the top 10. Oregon’s Dana Altman, Stanford’s Johnny Dawkins, Utah’s Larry Krystkowiak, California’s Cuonzo Martin and Arizona State’s Herb Sendek just missed the cut.
— Oregon’s Mike Moser isn’t likely to be taken in next week’s NBA draft, but he should score an summer league invitation.
— Former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon gave compelling testimony in his lawsuit against the NCAA.