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Ball Don't Lie

Nate Robinson thinks NBA referees hate him

Eric Freeman
Ball Don't Lie

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Nate Robinson makes Dirk Nowitzki's day just a bit brighter (Garrett Ellwood/ Getty).

Denver Nuggets guard Nate Robinson requires a certain amount of patience. By that, I mean not necessarily that his game can be frustrating, although that's sometimes the case during his most profligate shooting spells. On a basic level, Robinson simply likes to talk, emitting a running commentary on everything happening in front of him, the tenuously related, and anything else that happens to come into his head. There's a reason that, when Robinson teamed with Glen "Big Baby" Davis on the Boston Celtics, he referred to the partnership as "Shrek and Donkey."

To put it in less positive terms, Robinson can grate on people to the point of annoyance. In fact, after earning his second technical foul in as many games on Friday night against the New York Knicks, Robinson said that referees have made him a target. From Christopher Dempsey for The Denver Post:

Robinson smirked when talking about it.

“They hate me, they hate me,” he said. “I don’t know why, but it is what it is. I already know I’ve got the target on my back, but I’ll play through it; I don’t care. I really don’t. It doesn’t bother me none. If I get a call, I get a call. If I don’t, I don’t. If I get a tech, hopefully it’s not in the fourth quarter. Hopefully I don’t get any more. But I know I will. It’s nothing new for me.”

Many athletes earn certain calls based on reputation rather than their actions. Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, for instance, tends to get officiated as if every infraction were an order of magnitude greater, to the point where his ongoing reputation as a malcontent seems to be something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. As noted by Rob Mahoney at The Point Forward, Robinson's 11 technicals in 2012-13 ranked 11th overall despite his playing only 25.3 minutes per game, which suggests that he might be more of a target than others.

On the other hand, Robinson really does talk a lot during games, and it stands to reason that he wouldn't receive technical fouls if he were asking the refs which flavor Starburst they like best. The issue here isn't so much if Robinson is talking too much, but if he's being punished for comments that other players (like stars, maybe) can toss out without earning a tech. Unfortunately, that's hard to know from the vantage of a fan or media member.

What we do know, however, is that this supposed hatred is, at worst, just a case of bias. As any fan knows, referees only reserve hate for your favorite team.

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Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at efreeman_ysports@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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