Three-time slam dunk champion Nate Robinson is bidding to join Minnesota Vikings legend Bud Grant as the second athlete in history to play in both the NBA and the NFL.
After washing out with the New Orleans Pelicans and going unclaimed on waivers last fall, Robinson announced in March that he would return to the gridiron once his Israeli Premier League season ends in June.
Now that he is back in pigskin country, Robinson tried out as a defensive back with the Seattle Seahawks on Monday, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported, via a source informed of his plans. Robinson isn't signing with the Seahawks on Monday, according to Rapoport, but the team is planning to stay in contact with him.
The Washington Post first reported Robinson's tryout.
Before he toiled for 11 seasons in the NBA, Robinson started seven games as a freshman cornerback at the University of Washington. If Rick Neuheisel hadn't been fired as head coach of the football program, Robinson believes his professional career would have turned out differently.
"If he had stayed the coach, I would've been probably playing both football and basketball the entire time I was there and picked one later on," Robinson told ESPN's Kevin Pelton in April. "I probably would've tried the NFL first, and then, if that didn't work, then go back and play basketball -- if I could do it all over again."
Robinson insisted to Pelton that he's "serious as a heart attack" about pursuing an Indian summer NFL career. He has vowed to "take full advantage" of any opportunity that comes his way.
"It's a big-time dream," Robinson continued. "Something I've always wanted to do, play both sports at the highest level. We'll see if I can be the first one to really do it."
Correction: Grant was the first to do it, playing a bit role on a pair of George Mikan-led Minneapolis Lakers teams that reached the NBA Finals in 1950 and 1951.
Upon switching gears to football in the early 1950s, Grant was an immediate success, leading the Philadelphia Eagles in sacks as a defensive end. He switched to wide receiver the next season and finished second in the NFL with 56 receptions and 997 receiving yards. When the Eagles refused to pay what he considered a fair wage, Grant took his services to the CFL's Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Just 24 years old when he exchanged his high tops for cleats, Grant was still in his athletic prime as he turned to football.
Now 32 years old, undersized (5-foot-8, 180 pounds) and no longer athletically explosive enough to stay afloat in the NBA, Robinson is an extreme longshot to earn an NFL roster spot -- much less match Grant's post-NBA impact on the gridiron.