On some level, every NBA player thinks this.
From today’s elite scorers like Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, all the way back through Michael Jordan to Oscar Robertson, every NBA player thinks the referees have it in for him. James Naismith probably hated the refs.
Denver’s Nate Robinson certainly feels that way — he’s a guy who plays with his emotions on his sleeve and coming out his mouth in a constant stream of commentary on the court — and he expressed it after racking up a technical Sunday, his second in as many games.
Robinson said it with a smirk, but you know he believes there is truth in what he told the Denver Post.
“They hate me, they hate me,” he said. “I don’t know why, but it is what it is. I already know I’ve got the target on my back, but I’ll play through it; I don’t care. I really don’t. It doesn’t bother me none. If I get a call, I get a call. If I don’t, I don’t. If I get a tech, hopefully it’s not in the fourth quarter. Hopefully I don’t get any more. But I know I will. It’s nothing new for me.”
That could be the mission statement for Robinson’s “me against the world” philosophy. He’s the shortest player in the league, he’s got to play with a chip on his shoulder. It’s the only way it works.
But in a sport where there are gray areas around some calls and referees can enforce order with a technical, chippy guys who talk get T’d up. Nate should be used to it by now, he had 11 last season.
He can feel persecuted by the refs if he wants, it’s a long and storied NBA player tradition.