From Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily (subscription log-in required)…
DC Comics Forces NBA To Scrap Plans For Krypto-Nate T-Shirts
Nate Robinson and his Krypto-Nate alter-ego have become such a phenomenon, DC Comics, the originator of Superman, wants a piece of the action, The Post has learned.
Two days after the 5-7½ Robinson spectacularly won the Slam-Dunk competition during All-Star weekend, the NBA announced plans to release a green Krypto-Nate T-shirt for sale at the NBA Store and NBA.com.
One day later, the NBA scrapped its plan because of intellectual property issues with DC Comics, the originator of the Superman comic books. DC Comics’ offices are located on Broadway, near the NBA Store.
Robinson’s Krypto-Nate scheme – designed to topple a red-caped Dwight Howard and his Superman shtick – was too close to home for DC Comics. Kryptonite is the green emerald crystal found on the fictional planet Krypton that weakens Superman. The NBA is now looking to involve DC Comics in future Krypto-Nate endeavors, according to a league source.
“The NBA decided not to release the Krypto-Nate T-shirt because of future initiatives we are working on with Warner/DC Comics,” an NBA source told The Post.
The NBA instead released a generic Robinson T-shirt containing only Robinson’s name and status as the 2006 and 2009 Slam-Dunk champion. The NBA also has made Robinson’s green Spalding ball he used on his leap over Howard available for auction on its Web site.
Austin Trunick, publicity coordinator of DC Comics, wrote in an e-mail, “We’re going to decline participation in this story.” Robinson said he and Howard are planning to do commercials together with the Krypto-Nate/Superman theme. It’s unknown if DC Comics will be involved.
It has been a whirlwind three weeks for Robinson, a firestorm February upping his market value as a free agent July 1. With Robinson now a legitimate candidate for Sixth Man of the Year, Donnie Walsh, whose club is off till Wednesday vs. Atlanta, has more to contemplate, with the balancing act of keeping open 2010 cap space for LeBron James and another star.
Before this surge, Robinson was viewed as a mid-level exception guy ($5.9M per). If David Lee asks for $10M per, Robinson’s agents, Aaron and Eric Goodwin, may be looking for a payday not too far off.
“All I know is Seattle and here,” Robinson said. “This is where I want to be.”
Robinson’s fabulous February began in Los Angeles right before the All-Star break, when started at point guard for injured Chris Duhon. Robinson scored 33 points, 15 assists, 5 steals and 9 rebounds. It was the first time in 40 years a Knick had scored 30-plus points and had 15 assists – last done by Walt Frazier Feb. 18, 1969.
Robinson then leapt over Howard in Phoenix as Krypto-Nate and came surging out of the break with a series of dazzling performances, a spot on the Letterman Show, and funny interaction with actor Will Ferrell, his idol, sitting on celebrity row. Robinson has averaged 28 points in the last eight games.
According to a source, the Kings, Lakers and Oklahoma City made plays for Robinson at the trade deadline. “I don’t care honestly,” Robinson said of postseason honors. “Making the playoffs is way more important than Sixth Man.”
Special thanks to Newsarama’s Jamie Trecker!