Eddie Robinson and Rodney Buford are both rather infamously remembered for their NBA careers. Now, thanks to a wondrous new basketball league north of the border, the two will be united on the basketball court for the upcoming season.
Robinson and Buford were announced as the newest players for the Halifax Rainmen on Monday. Despite each player having played previously in the NBA, the announcement was probably a bit of a let down to the locals considering how the general manager teased their signings last week.
"It's history," Andre Levingston said in an interview Thursday. "This is gonna be big."
Unfortunately, Robinson and Buford are two of the bigger letdowns in recent memory as their seemingly fixable problems -- Buford's meandering around marijuana and Robinson's issues with headbands, among other things -- ended each players' NBA career right when they should have been taking off in the league.
Buford played in 230 career NBA games, starting 38, for five different teams after being a second round pick of the Miami Heat in the 1999 NBA Draft. Numerous bouts with marijuana -- and I don't use the world "numerous" lightly in this instance -- forced the talented player to play in Europe since a stint with the D-League's Sioux Falls Skyforce in 2006.
Robinson, on the other hand, was just more an oft-injured (fictitiously or not, we may never know) high-flyer who was made over $10 million dollars for being released by the Chicago Bulls two seasons before his five-year, $30 million contract expired because he was such a headache.
Part of the reason he was a headache was his headband, as Mark Deeks' recapped not so long ago.
The no-headband rule was instituted by John Paxson circa 2004, after Bulls bench player Eddie Robinson was repeatedly seen in practice wearing his headband around his neck. To Paxson, this presented an unnecessary choke hazard, and when Robinson petulantly refused to do anything about it, Paxson felt he had to ban headbands altogether, for that was the only way to get Robinson to stop.
K.C. Johnson wrote a bit more about it at the time of Robinson's release from the Bulls, too.
But Robinson fell out of favor with management for refusing to change his pregame and postpractice routines and work harder. He played only 22 minutes over last season's final 24 games and publicly feuded with coach Scott Skiles.
When Robinson complained of a sore big left toe on the second day of training camp, the situation worsened.
Bulls management and Robinson's representatives agreed for him to stay away from the team until a settlement could be reached.
Since playing 51 games during the 2003-04 season, Robinson's been mostly out of basketball aside from a 27-game stint with the Idaho Stampede during the 2006-07 season.
I really wanted to write NBA comeback somewhere in this article, but after failing to find a proper place to do so, I'll just finish this with this: "Come back, NBA ... I don't want to live in a world where Eddie Robinson and Rodney Buford signings are relevant in 2011. I didn't even like it back in 2001!"