- Nick Friedell, Chicago Bulls beat reporter
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CHICAGO -- Nate Robinson's pregame routine includes making one key decision that has many possibilities.
"I wouldn't have to wear the same shoes twice unless I wanted to," Robinson said recently. "Right now I have like 80 or 81 pair of Jordans I can wear without wearing the same one twice if I wanted to. But there's some Jordans I love better than others."
Robinson goes "by feel" to determine which shoe to wear each night. But for some games, he goes back and watches tape of Jordan for guidance.
"Some of the old school shoes, I go back and look at some of the shoes that Jordan had his best games in, whatever team that was I'd probably play that team in them shoes," Robinson said. "It's something you just got to go back and look at. It's kind of cool playing for the Bulls and being that Michael Jordan is my favorite player, so it's kind of cool."
The 28-year-old Robinson, who grew up in the Seattle area as a Sonics fan, has collected Air Jordans since he was a kid. He has different shoes lined up around his United Center locker to choose from and said he packs four to five pairs as options during road trips.
"I've been collecting them for a while," he said. "My first pair of Jordans were the VIs when I was growing up. I had the VIs, my first pair, and after that I just started collecting them. I had so many pairs of Jordans throughout my career, and throughout my life on top of that. But even now being in the NBA I just collect them, so I'm a big fan."
Robinson, who doesn't have a deal with the Jordan brand -- "Not yet. Hopefully ... I'm going to write him a letter" -- said his love for Jordan was one of the major reasons he signed with the Bulls as a free agent this summer.
"It's an honor," Robinson said. "Being here playing under the Jordan legacy and the Pippens and the guys that have been here before him as well. Putting on that uniform is just something special. As a kid I always wanted to be like Michael Jordan, he's my favorite player. Ya'll see I wear his shoes all the time, so for me I'm like a kid in the candy store, it's a blessing."
Robinson, who leads Bulls reserves with 11.5 points a game, said he was nervous when he first met his idol during the 2006-07 season while Robinson was with the New York Knicks.
"I didn't know what to say. I didn't know what to call him, Michael Jordan, Mr. Jordan, Mr. J, I didn't know what to say," Robinson said. "And my teammates at the time when I was with the Knicks -- Quentin Richardson and Jared Jeffries -- they were on my team they were sponsored my (the Jordan brand). They were like, 'Just go up to him, man. He's cool.' I'm like, 'It's not that easy man, this is the man right here!' When I met him he was cool, he knew who I was and everything."
Aside from wearing his shoes, Robinson is hoping to follow in Jordan's footsteps in another way. He wants to win a title with the Bulls.
"I can't even describe the words," he said of the chance to win an NBA title. "It would be a blessing, honestly. It would be an honor on top of that ... me being the first three-time slam dunk champion and even share that with Jordan and then on top of that to be on a team, be on the Bulls, and then him winning a championship here ... that would be the best thing ever."
Nate Robinson is right at home with the Bulls in his Air Jordans.