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This Cheesy Mitchell Robinson Blog Is For My Mom

Mitchell Robinson #23 of the New York Knicks smiles before the game against the Atlanta Hawks on November 2, 2022 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

My mom says she reads everything I write. Of course she would say that, she's my mom. But, in truth, even she would concede that she might not read everything I write all the way through to the end, because what I write is often very sad. Look, I get it: The world can be a hard, dark, and cold place, and sometimes people don't need any more reminding of that. What they sometimes need is a spark of joy or at least something to make them feel like not all hope is lost, if only to get through the day. So I am writing this because, at some point, my mom will read it and, this being the holiday season at the end of a long year, she deserves a story from me with a happy ending.

My favorite thing that I have stumbled upon this week is the story of New York Knicks player Mitchell Robinson and his new roommate—his old high school basketball coach, William "Butch" Stockton. Stockton coached Robinson at Chalmette High School in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. When Robinson became an NBA starter, the two kept in touch, so much so that, when Stockton's wife, Dawn, was hospitalized with metastatic cancer, Robinson would visit her. After Dawn Stockton's funeral, Robinson told his old high school coach that he was bringing him to New York.

"He said, 'Coach, there's no reason for you to stay here in Louisiana anymore. You come to New York with me and enjoy yourself and get your mind back straight,'" Stockton said during a courtside interview last week, soon adding, "It's just been a great situation, Rebecca, to be honest with you."

Stockton is still, in his heart, a high school basketball coach. The interview started with Stockton talking about how important rebounding—that classic basketball fundamental—is to his former player, who really wants to be the rebounding leader in the NBA. But Stockton also glowed when asked to describe Robinson as a person.

"Mitch is a very caring person. He cares about everyone. And I'm just speaking—not only on my behalf—but anyone that's close to Mitchell. He cares about them." He closed the interview by noting that "I can't thank Mitchell enough. And, I'll be honest with you, I have really enjoyed it up here."

As if that weren't heartwarming enough, a day later a longer interview dropped, this one with ESPN. It has all the hallmarks of a feature that will make me cry. An unexpected bond between coach and athlete. Hard-earned success. Robinson returning home for the funeral. And now they are roommates! I won't lie, in these moments my inner cynic screams, "No! There must be more! Nothing in this world is ever nice and pure and good. What are they hiding from me!?!" But I am choosing to suspend that instinct, for a moment, because at some point we all need nice things in our lives.

(Side note: When I mentioned that I was writing about this to Mr. Diana, he said he liked the story but also told me he always thought the Phoenix Suns should have drafted Luka Doncic and Robinson in 2018. Of course he did! You can't rain on my parade, Mr. Diana!)

Afterward, Robinson responded to anyone wondering why he hadn't been posting online about his new roommate. He gave an answer any mother, including mine, would love: "I did it for him not social media."

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