I bought a Nate Robinson jersey this weekend because I'm not sure he'll be a Bull next year. You read that right. Because I don't think he'll be back, I bought his jersey.
This does not happen often. Chicago fans don't run out to buy as much merchandise as possible when they know the player they're supporting isn't going to be on their favorite team anymore.
You don't see a lot of Marion Barber Bears jerseys. Not a ton of Bryan LaHair Cubs jerseys. Hardly any Kevin Youkilis White Sox jerseys. You get the idea. You walk around with one of those, and you'll be rightfully teased for living in the not-so-glorious past. Those players didn't accomplish much for this city—they filled roster spots. Now they're elsewhere, filling roster spots for other teams in other cities.
Robinson did something a little more special for this year's Bulls team, and this year's Bulls team did something a little more special for Chicago than simply lose in the second round of the playoffs.
I want to remember the triple-overtime victory over Brooklyn. I want to remember the Game 1 slugfest against the rusty Miami Heat, when the Bulls came together to play 48 big boy minutes while their top two point guards sat watching in suits and their starting small forward was in and out of a hospital bed.
I want to remember the year Nate Robinson played for a Bulls squad that needed scoring so badly they turned to Nate Robinson. I want to remember how his speed, athleticism and otherworldly self-confidence fit in perfectly with the context of the team he played for.
Often when we think about basketball, we allow ourselves to fall prey to the "chuckers are bad for the team" narrative. Robinson is an unabashed chucker, and he was superb for the team. I want to remember that, too.
So run out and get your Nate Robinson Bulls gear while you can. He likely played too well this year for the Bulls to be able to afford him next year, and I'm happy for him. He'll always be a Bull to me, though. I have the jersey to prove it.
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