Knicks’ Steve Novak, Bulls’ Nate Robinson beef over belt celebration
By Ben Golliver
If the squabble between Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony and Celtics forward Kevin Garnett didn’t satiate your appetite for trash talking, here’s a quality second helping.
During the Bulls’ 108-101 victory over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Friday night, Nate Robinson broke out the “Discount Double Check” championship belt celebration multiple times after knocking down jumpers. The celebration, popularized by Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and turned into a national advertising campaign by State Farm insurance, has been co-opted over the last few years by Knicks forward Steve Novak, a three-point shooting specialist who uses it to put an exclamation point on his threes.
Needless to say, Novak wasn’t particularly pleased by Robinson’s antics and he let his thoughts be known in a candid post-game interview aired on the MSG Network.
“It warms my heart,” Novak said of Robinson’s celebrations. “It really does. The best part about doing the belt is hearing the stories about all the little kids who hit a three-pointer and do the belt. One day when Little Nathan grows up, his dreams come true and he can be just like me.”
The dis quickly got back to Robinson, who is listed at 5-foot-9 and is currently the shortest player in the NBA, and he went at Novak on Twitter, calling him a “clown.”
“I forgot u invented that move, [you] must play for the Packers and [your] name is Aaron [Rodgers],” Robinson said.
Who is in the right and who is in the wrong? It’s no easy task adjudicating a matter as important as this. Novak had a right to feel a little upset, not at the fact that Robinson was performing the same celebration but because Robinson’s method and timing could be read as showing up Novak. Robinson has all sorts of expressive celebrations over the course of a game, especially when he has his shot going, but knocking down a jumper in Novak’s face and then breaking out the belt is a pretty clearly mocking. Did Novak handle this properly? Well, that’s a tougher question because it’s difficult to stop laughing at the expression on his face when he delivers his punchlines. The “Little Nathan” line was a low blow and Robinson is in fair territory responding to that. It should probably end there. When all is said and done, both parties were wrong but neither terribly so, which makes this all the easier to enjoy.
Robinson finished with five points on two-for-four shooting in 10 minutes. Novak had six points on two-for-three shooting in 17 minutes.