Michael Jordan is feared and reverenced all at the same time.
Over the weekend I checked in with three-time NBA Slam Dunk champion, Nate Robinson who shared how cool it was to play for the Bulls himself.
While chatting with me on my #WORDSWITHSCOOP Instagram Live series presented by Orox Leather, Nate Robinson also shared the first time he met MJ. Check out snippets from our dialogue below:
Nate Robinson on what the Michael Jordan statue outside of the United Center means to him:
“Every time I was in Chicago I would look at that statue in awe. As a kid from Seattle, Washington; we only saw Michael Jordan like, on TV. We never got to see him live, we never got to see him and what he built, but when I had the opportunity I would go to the United Center and I would go early and look at that statue and I was just hoping some superpowers would come from it and I could go in the game and just go crazy. But just looking at it from my mind and the statue just gave me flashbacks when I was a kid thinking about wanting to be like Mike and to wear his shoes, to hoop and fly through the air with the tongue out dunking and just do all the things that Mike did. All the memories he created, you want to create that for yourself.”
Nate Robinson on the first time that he met His Airness:
“The first time I met him personally, I was 22 years old. I had just won the Dunk Contest and went to go play Charlotte. My teammate Quentin Richardson introduced me to him and I was dumb nervous. I didn’t know how to approach Michael Jordan, I didn’t know what to say – I didn’t know whether to call him Mr. Jordan or just call him, so I just shook his hand [laughs] and we dapped up. I said, ‘I’m a big fan…’ you know, he was so real. He was like, “Aww nigga, I love your game Nate Robinson!” and then I got on the phone, called my dad immediately, “Michael Jordan knows my name, knows who I am. Yo dad, I can die a happy man now! I’m good! I did it!” So it was pretty cool to know that Jordan watched my game a few times and watched the Dunk Contest and saw what I did so, I mean to be able to meet the man that you just idolized growing up as a kid, and you wanted to be like, that was a great accomplishment.”
Nate Robinson on things that he learned from the Last Dance Bulls documentary:
“One was, the GM. He was kind of getting on my nerves. Like, knowing that he really wanted to break the team up after they won championships and further that let me know that this is a business and it’s more than winning for them. It wasn’t just about on they won on the player’s terms because, they felt like it was them that got them the win and because they put the team together or whatever. That kind of got under my skin a little bit. I was kind of bummed out like damn, behind the scenes I thought this team was going to be able to stand forever and reason why it broke up was kind of crushing as a fan as a kid. And knowing this guy was like that to the team that was crazy. And two, I would say the crazy thing is just like Jordan, Pippen, Rodman and those guys; the things that they were doing outside of just hoopin’ – Dennis Rodman going to Vegas and coming back the day of and you know, like being in the league and how they want you to be together with the team, it’s just crazy to have that type of stuff happening back then. It was crazy. Now usually unless players had a family emergency, then they could go. One time I had to leave because my uncle passed away so I had to go to Oakland for a funeral and got like, two days to leave and to come back so, I mean it happens but, I didn’t think that it would be like that going somewhere to go have fun; gambling in Vegas and then come back and do something like that. Naw, I never heard of that.”