NateRob, The Pound-For-Pound King!


HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Nate Robinson said it best, “God blessed me with a lot of heart and no height, and I’ll take that any day.”

So will the Chicago Bulls.

Krypto-Nate devoured the Miami Heat in the fourth quarter of the Bulls’ Game 1 upset in the Eastern Conference semifinals Monday night at AmericanAirlines Arena.

The best fourth quarter scorer in these playoffs, Robinson served the Heat by scoring the final seven of his game-high 27 points (he also had nine assists) in the defining minutes of the game. He did all this after needing 10 stitches to close a gash over his lip, courtesy of a LeBron James elbow and head smash during a scramble for a loose ball.

“Get stitched up and continue to battle,” Robinson told reporters after the game.

LeBron’s already snagged the “King” nickname. But after watching Robinson the past eight games (and, really, the past eight seasons), is there any doubt that he’s the pound-for-pound king of toughness in the NBA?

Yes, that’s high praise for a third-string point guard. And Robinson remains one of the more unpredictable players in the league. His highs, though, trump his lows every time. Tell me the last time a third-string point guard outdueled the MVP on the night he received his trophy? Robinson became the NBA’s first three-time Sprite Slam Dunk champ and built a cult fanbase from New York (where he spent his first four and half seasons in the league) to Boston to the Bay Area and now Chicago and beyond.

Nowhere is Robinson more beloved than in his native Seattle, where he was the big man on campus at Ranier Beach High School, where he was a three-sport (football and track, too) star. Unlike many of his NBA colleagues who love to fantasize about being crossover stars in the NFL, Robinson could have pulled it off.

He was a All-Pac-10 Freshman Team pick at cornerback at the University of Washington, where his father, Jacque Robinson, was a Rose Bowl and Orange Bowl MVP. Nate Robinson was believed to have a much brighter future in that sport.

But he chose basketball instead and the rest is pound-for-pound history for a player who says he’s having the time of his life with this Bulls team.

“There’s something special about this group,” Robinson said. “It feels like we’ve been playing together for, like, 10 years. I told [Bulls] Coach [Tom Thibodeau], we just love to play for each other.”

Hoops fans love having players with Robinson’s toughness on their team. That’s why he’s the king/captain of the Hang Time Pound-For-Pound Toughness Team. These are the guys still working in these playoffs who give up every ounce of what they’ve got on a nightly basis for their respective teams, be it blood, sweat, tissue, tears or whatever else is needed.

The other starters:

David West, Indiana Pacers

6-foot-9, 250 pounds

An absolute bruiser, West changed the entire culture of an organization in Indiana with his reserved-but-unwavering leadership style. The Pacers have become the picture of defensive toughness and consistency since West arrived. West is a physical specimen who has found a way harness his brute strength and play under complete control at all times. He’s a huge reason why the Pacers are up 1-0 on the New York Knicks in their Eastern Conference semifinal.

Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls

6-foot-7, 220 pounds

Another reserve who has moved into a starring role during this postseason, all Butler has done is play every single minute in three straight playoff games (Games 6 and 7 against the Brooklyn Nets and Game 1 against the Heat). That’s 48 straight minutes for three straight games while guarding the likes of the Nets’ Deron Williams and Joe Johnson and the Heat’s LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. With his tireless work on both ends of the floor, Butler has done a masterful job filling in for Luol Deng while also showing the sort of mettle of a future star.

Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies

7-foot-1, 265 pounds

The Memphis branch of the Gasol basketball family tree is much sturdier than the Los Angeles version in every way imaginable. Pau Gasol has always been considered the most skilled big man in the family. But the toughest Gasol, the recently crowd Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year, does his home work near Beale Street. He’s got it all … brains, brawn and he can ball.

Tony Allen, Memphis Grizzlies

6-foot-4, 214 pounds

A defensive stopper everywhere he’s been, Allen’s junkyard dog attitude inspired the Grit and Grind movement in Memphis (where you could fill out a Pound-For-Pound roster with the likes of Zach Randolph and others). Allen’s greatest trait is his fearlessness, which was on full display during the Boston Celtics’ title run in 2008 and has been as identifiable as his No. 9 jersey is since he joined the Grizzlies three seasons ago.


Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls; Jarrett Jack, Golden State Warriors, Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs; Iman Shumpert, New York Knicks; Chris Andersen, Miami Heat.


  1. OctoPPus says:

    Nate – KEY FIGURE – he can drag Bulls – it’s all about the pointguard !!!!

  2. ac says:

    I think if the Bulls continue to play their game and get Deng back in time for their home games, they have a shot at winning this series. The odds are still overwhelmingly in Miami’s favor but Thibs’ coaching, Jimmy Butler’s play, and the overall team defense could make this series very interesting.

  3. Dennis - Bulls Fan says:

    To me what Nate has done this Playoffs should never be forgotten. Seriously, the guy was 1 point shy of Jordans record (24) for points in playoff 4th quarter (he got 23) – Imagine if he did that for 4 quarters.. he would have had 92 points!! OMG for a guy 5’9 that is just amazing.. and Im so happy he has made his mark as a clutch player, truly now.

    Even with boston man he could fill it up in a hurry. He has his down sides (anybody watch the knicks play the pacers today? Melo and JR have been ICE COLD for maybe 4/5 games already in a row). Nate is getting kicked in the head (Gerald Wallace) and Stitches (LBJ) and he then continues to dominate. To be that small (hes my size) and be that tough against genetic freaks, is just a joy and privilege to watch. Truly.

    Nate you are a beast, and I believe in a GOD a little bit, dont matter one bit what you do bro. If others are not into it, thats fine and well – no problem – just leave his personal life out of it. Would you rather a crack head mother like some other superstars have? I like Durant and his strong mother its really important to have a good foundation, whatever that is based on.

    Anyway, he is just an amazing player – watching that triple OT against the NETS was the best game and series I have seen since Roses rookie year when Chicago played the Celtics (and lost) but had 7 games, about 12 OTs all up, ray allen, rose, rondo, ben gordon, kirk noah, pierce, all going clutch. It was that good for me.

    I love this game so much! Ballin till tomorrow!

    • ac says:

      Well said, bro. Nate is playing some inspiring ball this postseason. Hope it continues tonight!

  4. Go Bulls-Go Get It-Keep Seeing Red! Shot out from Boston where Nate is known as “Nate The Great”-Bigups!

  5. Jack says:

    Gillsy: you are just a hater of the King, were not talking of Lebron here, read it first its about NATE TOUGHNESS,. its nate time, but its just game1. we will find out next game if that toughness continue..

  6. Gillsy says:

    If James was worried about getting hurt he probably picked the wrong team to play. I would have loved to see him in the Warriors- Nuggets series he would have had something to cry about. I agree have you ever herd, Shaq, Malone, Rodman or the Chuckster complain about a rough game.

  7. will as ive the game.nate is a tremendous player with a big heart.but its a off night for the heat.

  8. holyspectator says:

    nate was puttin in work last night against the heat..i have a strong feeling miami will shut him down in the next coming games

  9. Mike says:

    Nate Robinson and KD alway praise god when they do something good. Its good when you know who gave you the blessing

  10. David says:

    How does Noah only make 2nd team after single-handedly winning game 2 against the Nets and dominate down the stretch of Game 7 (after guaranteeing victory) all while battling a partial tear of the fascia tendon (aka plantar fasciitis)? Gasol is a beast, for sure, but Noah is the toughest center in the game.

  11. Jimmy Buckets says:

    This list is wack unless you have Noah for 1st team cmon….west PLEASE and for gasol OVERRRATED

  12. Garifuna says:

    Lebron did not intentionally do that to Nate Sekou, and you know it. Anyhow great job by Nate.

  13. ac says:

    I gotta say as a new yorker we HATED nate robinson when he played for us. Such a showboater and an inconsistent one at that. But I have to confess I’m extremely impressed and proud to see he’s matured and turned into a team player in Chicago. He could always score, but now he’s distributing and making smart decisions somewhat consistently (he still has his moments). He made a solid case this season as one of the best players off the bench and his performance in the playoffs thus far has been inspiring. GO NATE!

  14. W/E says:

    Too bad hes too short to be any effective on defence but he is tough and can get hot.

    • defence says:

      know who scored 5 points on 1-5 shooting? The guy nate was guarding…

    • LakersWillWin says:

      I love how LeBron complained about the physical aspect of the game. Never heard the greats complain a game was too physical before!

      • Dennis - Bulls Fan says:

        Especially when LeBron gave Nate stitches by “accidentally” elbowing him in the head (Nate).