After playing the first four-and-a-half seasons of his career with the New York Knicks, diminutive shooting guard Nate Robinson has spent stints with five other teams — Boston, Oklahoma City, Golden State, Chicago, Denver — in hopes of finding a permanent residence. His journeyman status has led to many jokes (including from yours truly) about his mission to play for every team in the NBA. Well, now that he’s made it through one-fifth of the league, even he is thinking about accomplishing the impossible: playing for all 30 NBA teams.
Of course, history and math prove that Nate’s mission is pretty much impossible. First of all, throughout his nomadic career, he’s only been traded twice (technically three times — he was drafted by the Suns and immediately traded to the Knicks). His three most recent stops were the result of signing as a free agent, where he managed to stick around for the entire season — or, will be there the entire year, as is currently the case in Denver. In other words, he plays well enough for teams to keep him around (or, in the case of the Chicago Bulls, help win a playoff series), but just inconsistent enough to not commit to a long-term deal.
Then, there’s the part about having to play for 24 more NBA teams. Nate is currently in his ninth season, which means over the next six or seven seasons (we’re being very generous in allowing him a 15 or 16-year career), every team he hasn’t played for would have to conspire to pass him around in such a comical manner that soon-to-be-commissioner Adam Silver would probably step in and say “cut that shit out”.
So, let’s revise Nate’s mission and set a more realistic goal: play for half the teams in the league. If he did that, he’ll hold three distinct records: 1) Most teams played for (and by a lot); 2) Three-time Slam Dunk Contest champion; and 3) The only Slam Dunk Contest champion to brick 476 consecutive dunks and still win. Impressive, indeed.