Inside Eddie Robinson
Eddie Robinson knows that he will be looked upon to lead the Bulls back to winning ways.
Throughout the 2001-02 season, Eddie Robinson is checking in with Bulls.com to give you an inside look at what it is like to be an NBA player. Today, as he prepares for what some basketball experts say will be a breakout season, Eddie talks about what you can expect to see from him in addition to sharing his thoughts on coming to Chicago, meeting his new teammates, his new role and settling in.
Tuesday, October 16, 2001
Hey Bulls fans, it's Eddie Robinson here. For those of you who haven't seen me play yet, I want to start off by telling you a little bit about my game: I'm a slasher who loves the up and down game. I play transition basketball very well and you can expect to see me throw down some high-flying dunks. I also shoot a lot of jumpers. This season, I want to be fun for the fans to watch and I also want to get all of my teammates involved.
WHEN YOU SEE ME ON THE COURT, IT'S SHOWTIME.
To some people I'm known as "E-Rob" and that's been with me since college. When I was at Central Oklahoma, one of the fans that came to all the games started bringing an E-Rob sign. Then the announcer caught on and when I'd score, I'd hear him say, 'Basket by E-Rob.' At first, I remember thinking, 'Who is E-Rob?' A few times later I noticed he also said my number, 32, and I figured out he was talking about me.
Heading to the Windy City
At the end of the last season, I really thought I was going to stay in Charlotte. As much as [Charlotte's management] was talking about how they wanted me to stay and remain a Hornet, I thought they would make resigning me their top priority. Obviously, that didn't happen. They told me they wanted to wait and see what was going to happen. I was pretty upset, almost furious and didn't understand what they meant about waiting around to see what would happen. So I decided, OK, I'm not going to put my life on hold just because that's what they want to do. I then started to go out and consider what other teams had to offer.
"I've had dreams since I was young about being one of the best players in the league."
My first visit was to Chicago. I liked everything about the trip and love this city. I feel like I know it pretty well already since my wife has some family out here. We've made several trips here over the summers and knowing the area has made it a little easier for me to adjust.
My main thing all along was that I just want to play basketball and work towards becoming an NBA all-star player. I've had dreams since I was young about being one of the best players in the league. The opportunity that the Bulls had for me was to possibly start or at least play major minutes. I knew it could be a situation where I'm playing 36 or 38 minutes a night. That's obviously what I was looking for, to be out on the floor for that kind of time playing and competing was very appealing to me. It was very hard for me to pass up.
I also found out the Bulls had been interested in me for quite some time, even before this summer. The Bulls had targeted me as their top free agent and that meant a lot.
I now have the feeling like this is my first season all over again. I'm on a new team, I'm on a team with new players and I'm making new friends.
Knowing that I am going to have a big role on this team is great. That's why I came here.
Advice for a Friend
For the most part, my summer was all about basketball and figuring out where I'd be for this season. I did make a special trip to try and help out a friend of mine, Cory Hightower. I know Cory from my hometown, Flint, Michigan and he was here in Chicago [playing on the Bulls' summer league team] this summer. I'm trying to figure out why he can't stick with a team. I wanted a chance to sit down and talk to Cory man to man about what he needs to do to make a roster. I don't know if anyone else like Mateen Cleaves, Morris Peterson or Charlie Bell [all Flint natives] have really had the chance to talk to him. When I found out he was going to be in Charlotte's training camp, I flew down to talk to him about a week before training camp. Having played there, I talked to him about some of the things the Hornets would expect from him. Unfortunately, Charlotte has since released Cory but I hope he stays at it because he can have a future in the NBA.
We also took a trip to the Bahamas this summer. It was more of a long weekend but still a nice time. My wife, Tommy Maria, is from there so we go back a few times a year and just enjoy the weather and the water. I might look into getting a condo there since it is so expensive to stay in hotels. I'd have no problem making the Bahamas my second home!
"Knowing that I am going to have a big role on this team is great," Robinson says.
The moving process was kind of slow at first. I can't tell you how many times I would find a house, have it get inspected and then find out something was wrong with it! One house I looked at had some water damage. I was set, thinking that it was the house I was going to go with and then it fell through. We had even put a payment down on that house and then we found out about the water. It was everywhere--the ceilings had water throughout and parts of the house could have collapsed for all I know. We were close to getting another house and then the family changed their minds and decided they didn't want to move after all. I guess I could have sued them since we had already come to an agreement but I didn't feel like going through all of that.
Finally, we found one that was brand new and empty so we took it. We are now getting settled and have all of our stuff from Charlotte here. The house is great, it's big enough and we have plenty of extra rooms for when friends and family come in to visit so they won't need to stay in a hotel.
Getting to Know You
Meeting the new players here in Chicago has been great. I always handle meeting new people pretty well, though. Ball players seem to have an automatic type of a relationship and it's very easy to become friends with each other. When you have teammates, you have to look out for each other and ask each other for advice. I feel like I've clicked with everyone here since the first day. Meeting the coaches and players has been really great.
I spend some of my time hanging out with Jamal Crawford. He knows about all the good restaurants and we've been out downtown a few times. We ate at a really good steakhouse one night and stopped by ESPN Zone another night. Chicago has some great soul food restaurants too and I love that.
So far, I'd have to say the city of Chicago has a lot more to offer than Charlotte. My favorite thing to this point has been the people. Everyone I've met has been so friendly and easy going... they always seem to have a joke or something funny to say and I like that a lot. The shopping is better, too. My wife and I have been to Michigan Avenue a couple times. We bought so many clothes... I mostly got jeans and shirts but she loaded up on all the glitz and glamour type stuff.
Learning to Lead
E-Rob is optimistic: "We have a good chance of doing something special this year."
Going into training camp, I knew it would be a learning process for me. It's a matter of learning new plays, finding out where your teammates like the ball and for me, learning how to be a major contributor. In Charlotte, I was always grouped with the second team and it's different now. I was more on the side watching and learning things and now I'm out there with the first team going through and learning things first hand.
I've also learned that my attitude is very important. We have a lot of young players on this team and at times they will be watching me and I want them to pick up on being positive and doing the right things on the court.
Playing the role of being a leader is another challenge for me but I look forward to it. Charles Oakley and Greg Anthony have already taught me a few things about that. I can't say enough about what it means to have two of the best guys in the league here to teach us. To play as long as they have played and to know the game inside and out like they do is so valuable. It's good for me to have them around, but it's also good for Tyson [Chandler] and Eddy [Curry]. We learn from them in so many aspects and different ways--on the court, in the weight room, in the lockerroom and after practice. Just to see them working as hard as anyone on the team says something.
I remember the first day of workouts during training camp. We were all walking around with sheets of paper with lists of what we had to do. Then you see Oakley and he doesn't have a paper. He said he didn't need it because he's been doing it for years and he knows what it takes. That was kind of funny. Seriously, though, I want to be at that point where I don't need that paper--I want to learn what it takes and what my body needs to be a success.
Reason for Optimism
We have a good chance of doing something special this year.
There is so much athleticism and that is definitely on our side. If things click the way they should and we get our chemistry down, we can be a playoff contender team. One key is that players have to come in and know their roles. The competitiveness is definitely there. All of the guys are coming in and practicing hard and we're doing it with a lot of intensity and hopefully it will all pay off.
I'm going to be the best player I can be this season. I hope to provide the Bulls with an extra spark that hasn't been here the last few years. We are going to be fun to watch and we plan on keeping the crowd excited. My goal and my teammates' goal are to make the playoffs and beyond. To do that, we need everybody on the same page and we all need to work towards turning this team around. We plan on competing and giving it our best shot every single night.
Talk to you all again soon. Go Bulls!