Perkins nearly drowns RobinsonNew Thunder guard Nate Robinson said center Kendrick Perkins was obsessed with coming back early from his off-season knee injury while with the Boston Celtics. “He grabbed me a couple times and (we) worked out in the pool,” Robinson said. “I was like, ’Man, I ain’t doing this no more. You’ve got that on your own.’ He was doing some major workouts in the pool. One time I almost drowned, trying to swim like him. My legs and my arms kind of tensed up and everything. He’s a hard worker. ... He’s going to do everything the coach asks. Set screens. He’s not taking no crap from nobody.”
NUMBERS GAMEAfter wearing jersey No. 43 his entire career in Boston, Perkins will wear No. 5 with the Thunder. The number 43 was retired by the Seattle SuperSonics in honor of Jack Sikma. Robinson, who wore No. 4 with the Celtics, will wear No. 3 because Nick Collison has the No. 4. Center Nazr Mohammed, who wore No. 13 with Charlotte, will wear No. 8 because James Harden has the No. 13. Mohammed said he chose No. 8 to honor former Kentucky teammate Antoine Walker.
DUNK INSIGHTThe 5-foot-9 Robinson is a three-time winner of the NBA dunk contest (2006, 2009, 2010) and had praise for Thunder participant Serge Ibaka, who was in this year’s competition. “He did a pretty good job,” Robinson said of the 6-foot-10 Ibaka, who dunked while taking off from the free-throw line and also while biting a Rumble doll that dangled in front of the rim. “The free-throw line, that’s always tough,” Robinson said. “But someone 7 feet tall doing it? Wow. That dunk with the little teddy bear? That was creative. I liked that one a lot. My daughter (Navyi Caiann) wanted that teddy bear.”
NO TEDDY BEARThe 6-foot-10, 280-pound Perkins insists looks sometimes can be deceiving. “I’m showing them that I’m not this mean guy that everybody thinks I am,” he said. “But I wouldn’t call myself a soft teddy bear because it might mess up my image.” Robinson said of Perkins: “He looks kind of mean, but he’s one of the nicest persons you’ll ever meet.”
HOT PROSPECTRobinson has been known to heat up in a hurry off the bench, but Thunder coach Scott Brooks said he already likes his current rotation at guard and minutes could be hard to find for Robinson. “There might be some times and some opportunities where the game needs what Nate brings,” Brooks said. “Initially, it’s going to be a feel thing, see how the game is going, see how the flow is going.”
QUOTABLE“I walked in today. I didn’t have a pair of shoes so I had my old Celtics shoes. They (Thunder teammates) were like, ’Man, you got to get that out of here.’ So I threw them right in the trash. They tried to pass me a little green medicine ball today. I said, ’I don’t want to see nothing green.’ Boston is the last thing on my mind now.” — Perkins. BY JOHN ROHDE AND DARNELL MAYBERRY
Perkins nearly drowns Robinson