Raphielle Johnson

Raphielle has been writing about college sports for more than a decade for multiple outlets, including NBC Sports. Focuses have included game recaps, columns, features and recruiting stories. A native of the Northeast, he now calls Pac-12 country home. Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

3-time dunk champion Nate Robinson undergoing treatment for kidney failure

AP Photo/Ben Margot
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Former NBA guard Nate Robinson announced on Saturday that he has been undergoing treatment for kidney (renal) failure, a situation he has been dealing with for the last four years.

Stating that he was “never a vocal leader on the court,” Robinson stated his hope that going public with his diagnosis can help others in a similar situation.

Selected by the Suns with the 21st overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, Robinson played for eight teams over the course of his 11 seasons in the league. He’s best known for his All-Star Weekend exploits, becoming the first player in league history to win the Slam Dunk Contest on three separate occasions (2006, 2009, and 2010).

Robinson is also one of four players to win back-to-back slam dunk titles, with Michael Jordan (1987, 1988), Jason Richardson (2002, 2003), and Zach LaVine (2009, 2010) being the others.

Since completing his NBA career after two games with the Pelicans during the 2015-16 season, Robinson has branched out into other sports. The former Washington defensive back tried out for the Seahawks in 2016 and fought Jake Paul in an exhibition boxing match in 2020.

Sam Garvin to serve as Suns interim governor, filling in for Robert Sarver

Suns owner Robert Sarver
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One day after NBA commissioner Adam Silver defended his decision to suspend Suns and Mercury governor Robert Sarver, his interim replacement has been approved. According to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes, vice chairman and minority owner Sam Garvin will fill the void, with Silver approving the plan Wednesday evening.

Garvin has been a member of the Suns’ ownership group since 2004. Also of note here is that he was one of the members of the ownership group that voiced its support for Sarver when the allegations first came to light in November 2021.

In the statement, members of the Suns’ ownership group stated, “we join Mr. Sarver in welcoming Commissioner Silver’s investigation of the allegations presented by ESPN, and will fully cooperate in the investigation and any suggestions the league may have.”

Silver confirmed Wednesday that Sarver would be suspended for one year and fined $10 million. And there has no shortage of opinions that the punishment was too lenient. Among those who have spoken out are Suns point guard Chris Paul, LeBron James, NBPA executive director Tamika Tremaglio, and some unidentified Suns employees who also voiced their frustration.

It will be interesting to see if Silver revisits the punishment handed down at some point soon or the next year. And it would not come as a surprise if this situation, and how punishment for team governors differs from that of players, was brought up during collective bargaining agreement conversations.

The current collective bargaining agreement will expire after the 2023-24 season.