Here's the Punch Line: Nate is Stepping into the Ring and his Opponent Better Beware

Dan Raley

Back in December, Nate Robinson seemed kind of bored. Out of pro basketball for just a year, Robinson regularly showed up at Seattle's Rainier Beach High School, his alma mater, to get in a run with the latest players, who included his son.

Admittedly, he was itching for something with a little more sporting substance to it.

This week, Robinson — the little man who wowed college and NBA crowds with his explosive dunking ability while barely standing 5-foot-9 — revealed that he will soon step in the boxing ring.

He has agreed to take on a newfound antagonist, YouTube star Jake Paul, on Sept. 12 in the Los Angeles area as part of the undercard for the Mike Tyson-Roy Jones Jr. ancient warrior main bout. Tyson is 51, Jones 54.

The combatants will be part of a pay-per-view event to be held without fans inside the Dignity Health Sports Park on the campus of Cal State-Dominquez Hills in Carson. Interested observers will sit in front of their TVs and fork over a reported $49.99 to watch.

For Robinson, 36, it's hardly surprising he would do this. He's always been up for a sporting challenge that goes against the norm. He played University of Washington football for a year and started at defensive back. He next switched to Husky basketball, where he became an All-Pac-10 guard, a college sensation and a first-round draft pick.

He spent 11 seasons in the NBA, playing for eight teams. Always a fan favorite, he won three dunk championships. In 2016, he had an NFL tryout with his hometown Seattle Seahawks as a cornerback. 

Now he will box.

"I wanted to show that I'm a world-class athlete," Robinson told The Athletic's Shams Charrania. "I played college football, played in the NBA for 11 years, and I'm excited for this venture into the sport of boxing. Jake Paul, I want all the smoke."

Translated, Nate wants to knock him out. The two have traded the residual insults for months now, helping bring their match together. 

While always a crowd-pleaser, Robinson has been a quick and physical athlete unafraid of a little contact. He was explosive leaving the floor with his spring-loaded legs and equally violent finishing off his windmill dunks with his meaty arms. 

People always have wondered what might happen if someone tried to press Robinson and get him angry. He's someone who won't back down. 

For the coming match, he's been training in Las Vegas with former boxing great Floyd Mayweather, learning all the nuances of the sport. May weather may just wind him up and let him loose. 

Non of this bodes well for Paul, who's had a few fights against other YouTube personalities. He may live to regret taking on this bundle of energy from Seattle. 

They've traded the prerequisite trash talk, which seems more scripted. One punch, however, might be all Nate needs to settle this.

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Comments (2)
No. 1-2

I'll never forget the Apple Cup game when he out-jumped a 6'6" Wazzu receiver and made a crucial interception. That was my introduction to Nate the Great!!

Dan Raley
Dan Raley


He's so quick I've always wondered how he could throw a punch. He's always kept himself under control.

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