Former Chicago Bulls Nate Robinson and Carlos Boozer will reunite for All-Star Weekend. Their personal and professional paths have remained intertwined.
Following a lifetime of competing in multiple sports, coupled with an 11-year NBA journey, he knows that he wouldn’t have it any other way.
All it took was for Joakim Noah to yell out a word in some of Robinson’s first practices with the Bulls — the same one that he used in college to steer him and the Florida Gators to their NCAA National Championship victory over the UCLA Bruins. From that point on, whenever somebody said to “HOLDAT,” it took on a whole new meaning.
Adversity didn’t waste any time striking the Bulls that season, most notably Derrick Rose‘s ACL injury that forced him to be sidelined the entire year. That injury eventually led to a cavalcade of doubt and criticism in what the Bulls could achieve without their star point guard. Robinson, a 5’9″ guard that nobody believed could lead the team in the backcourt, along with his teammate and friend Carlos Boozer, saw it as an opportunity to prove people wrong.
Chicago finished 45-37 under head coach Tom Thibodeau — whose intellect on the defensive end only fueled the team’s motivation even further — pushing Robinson to have one of the greatest campaigns of his career.
“That was a special season,” Robinson said. “Nobody had us coming out of the East at all, they didn’t even have us making the playoffs, teams said that we were going to lose in four games, they said we were going to get swept. They said without Derrick Rose, this is a taken season, we heard everything. I don’t think there was…There was nothing positive about what people were saying about that team, and we wanted to show them who we were, we wanted to show them a team full of guys that they counted out. We could compete and beat whoever. I mean, we ended Miami’s streak when they were on their hot streak, when they had LeBron, D-Wade, Chris Bosh -the Big 3 over there – and we handled business. We always played teams well. We always lived by our “HOLDAT” and team camaraderie.”
While Nate Robinson and Carlos Boozer only played one NBA season together, they found that what they had in common would remain with them. Primarily, they bond as sports dads, and have collaborated on many other projects in post-basketball life. The duo started the “HOLDAT” podcast in 2018, discussing everything from their athletic careers, to their entrepreneurial story, and the influential impact of being on the side of the media as former athletes.
“I think it’s huge that we have the chance to have a voice, and for people to hear us,” Robinson said. “Instead of the media putting it out there, in their words or how they want. We actually get a chance to really have a voice, man. That’s what it’s all about. To be able to talk about what we’ve been through, what it’s like to be a professional athlete, and to be a professional athlete and have look at you as only a professional athlete and not as a human being, not as a father, as a big brother, or a son… And we’re all those things. For us to get that freedom to be able to speak to the world from our views is huge, and I encourage other athletes who are nervous or hesitant about speaking up for yourselves.”
Robinson and Boozer return to the Windy City now also as business partners, set to embark on a whole new world after sports with that memorable 2012-13 season on their backs. Robinson spoke on the true meaning of the HOLDAT brand ahead of its Chicago launch this weekend, and how the three-time Dunk Contest winner plans to relish the ride. The event took place on Friday.
In what Nate Robinson describes as “the ultimate word for success,” the HOLDAT movement continues to drive him every day in upholding the brand — a movement he hopes will go on to influence others forever that goes way beyond just basketball and being an athlete — one that has done the same for him throughout his life and career.
“Any brand that you see started from somewhere, Robinson said. I want people to respect and love what we stand by. We want people to feel and be apart of HOLDAT, doctors can wear it, construction workers, firemen, anybody and everybody can wear HOLDAT because it means so much more. It means the ultimate word for success and achieving your goals, and that’s the brand – that’s what HOLDAT is.”