Best Season as a Knick: 2008-09, age 24. 17.2 points, 84% from the line, winner of Slam Dunk Contest (his second).
A jester during the franchise’s darkest era, Nate Robinson lit up Madison Square Garden while kings of the court like Isiah Thomas and James Dolan relentlessly tried snuffing it out. New York finished last, second to last, last, and last in the Atlantic Division during Robinson’s tenure with the Knicks. It seemed like frustration was boiling over onto the city’s streets on a nightly basis, and the dark path the beloved team was traveling on had no end in sight; it wasn’t a pretty time. But Nate made everything a little better. He was a bag of skittles trying to feed a starving city.
Let’s get this out of the way right now: Nate Robinson didn’t cure any previously untreatable diseases or solve the country’s then (and now) aching economic troubles, but he did put a smile—or at the very least a smirk—on your face; he was as unpredictably entertaining a player as the league had, infamous for shooting on the wrong hoop or attempting an in-game self-alley-oop which resulted in a traveling violation. Robinson was there for show, and that’s why we/some of us loved him.