Eddie Robinson admits he had never heard of Halifax until talk of him playing basketball in the city began to surface.
“I actually thought it was closer to Toronto,” grinned the former NBAer. “I Googled it on the map and was like, wait a minute.
“But it’s always fun to go to a different place and experience different cultures.”
Robinson and fellow former NBAer Rodney Buford were the star attractions at yesterday morning’s much anticipated Rainmen press conference.
The presser to announce the signing of four players was dubbed by the team as “undoubtedly the largest in franchise history” and saw both local and national media in attendance.
The two signings, along with returnees Taliek Brown and DeAndre Thomas, were the first by the Rainmen since joining the new National Basketball League of Canada.
The 35-year-old Robinson last suited up in the NBA during the 2003-04 season with the Chicago Bulls. In his five-year NBA career, the six-foot-nine guard/forward – who also played for the Charlotte Hornets – averaged seven points and 2.7 rebounds per game. He hasn’t played professionally since 2008.
“I just love playing,” Robinson said of his reason for coming to Halifax. “This game will take you anywhere – it will take you all over the world…. once I got the call, I said yes immediately.”
Buford, 33, played in the NBA for the Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers, Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings and New Jersey Nets from 1999 to 2005. The six-foot-five shooting guard averaged 6.4 points and 2.6 rebounds per game.
After playing the last several years professionally overseas, Buford was looking to be closer to his home in Nebraska.
“Everywhere I go I don’t plan on going there for a week and leaving,” Buford said. “I plan on staying for the long haul. It just makes me feel better as a person to know that I’ve been there the whole year.”
Levingston said making sure Robinson and Buford were committed to the team factored in the signings.
“They seem really excited about it,” Levingston said. “They want to come here and work and be leaders.”
Owner open to more additions
Team owner Andre Levingston won’t rule out the possibility of more big-name signings in the near future.
“You never know,” he said coyly.