Nate Robinson is back?
The former NBA point guard made his NBA D-League debut for the Delaware 87ers on Tuesday, coming off the bench to play 18 minutes. He was claimed off waivers by the Sevens last week.
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The veteran guard struggled, making just 1 of 8 shots, a three-pointer. He finished with three in nearly every category: points, assists, steals, rebounds and turnovers. All three of his fouls came in a rocky first half, when he was called for a personal despite an opposing player appearing to fall on him. Overall, Robinson looked a bit rusty without much of the flair he displayed for 11 seasons in the NBA.
Despite Robinson's lackluster debut, the Sevens still put together an impressive win over the Maine Red Claws, 123-101, with James Webb III reeling off 40 points and 13 rebounds.
It's fitting that Robinson, who is the only three-time Slam Dunk champion, would return stateside for affiliated basketball the same week as the NBA's All-Star Game. The point guard last played in the NBA at the beginning of last season, spending two games with the New Orleans Pelicans, before finishing last year with Hapoel Tel Aviv in Israel.
In an interview at halftime, Robinson said he was "a little bit nervous but still excited" playing his first game. When asked how he kept in shape despite a long layoff, Robinson said it was more than just working out that kept him in shape.
"I got kids, so they keep me young," Robinson said. "They keep me busy."
Robinson said part of his reason for trying to keep going was Allen Iverson. The 5-foot-6 guard was a fan of the Sixers legend and fellow point guard and was disappointed by the end of his career, saying it left a bad taste in his mouth. So now it's Robinson's hope that a stint with the Sevens is step one to writing a better ending to his own career.
If Robinson plays in the D-League for long enough, he'll be able to say he's played in two different leagues. The D-League, short for the NBA Development League, will be renamed the NBA Gatorade League, or NBA G-League next season.