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Former Knicks player Nate Robinson claims Larry Brown abuse, says 'NBA gave me depression'

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 6/20/2018 Scott Gleeson

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Former NBA star Nate Robinson, a three-time slam dunk champion and spark-plug point guard at 5-foot-9, claims the pressure to fit the NBA mold made him deeply depressed and that Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown was emotionally abusive during his time with the New York Knicks. 

"The NBA gave me my depression," Robinson told Bleacher Report in a story published on Tuesday. Robinson, who is slated to be a key member of Ice Cube's BIG3 summer league, said during his 11-year NBA career that different coaches — namely Brown and Minnesota Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau (while with the Chicago Bulls) — challenged him to alter his personality and be more mature, causing Robinson inner turmoil. 

"I was trying to change," Robinson said in the interview with Bleacher Report. "Nobody would ever know the real struggles that I had to fight to try to be somebody that I wasn't. ... That was the hardest thing in my career. Not basketball, not working out. Not my children. ...The hardest thing in my whole life, of my 34 years in existence on earth, was dealing with 11 years in the NBA of trying to be somebody that (NBA coaches) want me to be."

Robinson described one emotionally-abusive incident with Brown that brought him to tears. He said Brown, an old-fashioned coach who is now 77, would call him a "little (expletive)" regularly, and when he finally confronted Brown in his office asking him to stop degrading him, Brown then called him the same expletive in practice afterwards and told the team Robinson had cried — as if to exploit a weakness. 

Brown told Bleacher Report that he didn't recall the incident but said, "if I did that, shame on me. I would feel terrible about that. That's not who I am, but I don't want to dispute Nate."


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