It makes sense that almost all of the attention this offseason has focused on the Chicago Bulls' immediate future rather than their recent past. Last season was trying for a number of reasons, but mostly because we didn't get to watch Derrick Rose play basketball. That was an immense bummer and the thought of Rose playing again soon is comforting and exciting. With that in mind, nearly everything that's happened this summer has been with a focus on what next year will be like.
Will Thibodeau finally chill out on Noah's minutes? Will Deng's contract status affect his play positively, negatively, or not at all? Will Jimmy Butler make another leap? For how long will Kirk be stuck in the well? Will Tony Snell haunt dreams and feast on souls?
(Credit: Brian Babineau, NBAE Getty Images)
These are all important and pressing questions in their own way.
Next season is going to be awesome. I cannot wait.
Still, sometimes it's good to remember and reflect on whatever the hell last season was. For all of the ill-fated Waka Flocka predictions, Reggie Rose quotes and bouts of plantar fasciitis, there existed a few tragically beautiful moments of basketball. That it was all coated in a thick layer of pain made it that much more wonderfully insane. We all have our favorite moments from last year, but there's no question about mine.
Nate Robinson's fourth quarter scoring explosion in Game 4 against the Brooklyn Nets was one of the greatest Chicago sports moments I've ever had to privilege to enjoy. Nate put up 34 points in a 142-134 triple overtime victory, scoring all but five of his points after the fourth. In the fourth alone, he scored 23 points. He's tied with the best game of LeBron's career (2007's "48 Special") for the most points scored after the third quarter in NBA history.
All of this happened. It was batshit crazy and we will never see anything like it again.
Nate may be gone to Denver now, but I'd like to thing a small part of his spirit lives on. At least I hope it does. I hated that signing as much anyone when it happened; looking back on it now, The Nate Robinson Experience (TM) was one of the most enjoyable of my existence as a sports fan.
Nate Robinson was the best and Game 4 against the Nets was his moment in the sun. On Wednesday night, NBA TV replayed the game and they asked Nate to live tweet it.
Predictably, it was a great idea. You can read the whole thing easily at the Storify stream the homie Caleb set up. I picked out a few of my favorites here and want to go through them. And please, watch the video above and relive all of this again. It's worth it.
This is how things started off and I immediately got emotional.
MISS YOU, BROTHER.
Man watching this game makes me miss the Chi even more... #NateLive— NBA TV (@NBATV) September 12, 2013
/violently wiping away tears.
Hahaha. Firing shots at the Nets for no reason at all and making a pinpoint accurate pop culture comparison in the process? Jesus, never change, Nate.
Nate didn't only diss Brooklyn, sometimes he honored his now former teammates, as well.
Taj Gibson is my bro. Will dunk on anybody in the nba #NateLive— NBA TV (@NBATV) September 12, 2013
Taj Gibson is my bro, too. He's our bro, really.
Oh wait, back to Bro-Pez.
Induct this moment in the Basketball Twitter Hall of Fame right now, please. First ballot. No questions asked.
Great pass from jimmy buckets lol #NateLive— NBA TV (@NBATV) September 12, 2013
Yall hear boozer lol #NateLive— NBA TV (@NBATV) September 12, 2013
lol. He tweeted this at the beginning of the game, too. This was the second time. Just for effect, really. Got to drive this point home. Boozer yells a lot, we all hear him. That's the joke. Nate stays Nate.
I was on fire like NBA jam lol #NateLive— NBA TV (@NBATV) September 12, 2013
Nate famously told reporters after the game it felt like he was playing NBA Jam out here. This is a callback to one of his greatest hits.
HE'S HEATING UP #NateLive— NBA TV (@NBATV) September 12, 2013
His enthusiasm just jumps right off the page.
CJ get some bounce why Dnt u lol.. #NateLive— NBA TV (@NBATV) September 12, 2013
Bwhahahahaha. Lest any of us forget that moment that made all of this possible.
Cosmic payback, I'm telling you. Gosh, I still can't believe that happened.
Remember Thibodeau calling for the intentional foul on Evans, and Evans promptly bricking the free throws? Great moment in history.
Listen how loud the beautiful fans are yelling for the bulls to win love the energy in the UC I'm a miss that place ... #NateLive— NBA TV (@NBATV) September 12, 2013
You can still visit! Crash on Erik Murphy's couch on the weekends, or something.
Ahead: perfect sign-off:
I have no idea what #holdat means, by the way. Couldn't even begin to guess its origins. But that silly hashtag was just another part of the wild ride that was last season with Nate Robinson, and I'll cherish all of it forever.
There may one day come a time, hopefully in the not too distant future, when the Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Tom Thibodeau have made the Bulls NBA champions. It can happen next year, two years from now, six years from now, whatever. I'm patient. But after that happens and everyone's done drinking and high-fiving and making ridiculous hyperbolic statements, we will reflect on the road that got us there.
Last season's Bulls are going to be the deformed, bizarre, flawed, hilarious and possibly the most memorable part of that journey. Nate Robinson was a big reason why. I miss him already, but I'm thankful for everything he gave us.