Title: ‘It means the world:’ Fred VanVleet and James Robinson put Rockford on the map
Date: October 16, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the connection between Fred VanVleet and James Robinson, a pair of slept-on undrafted success stories from the same city.
Not fast enough. A little undersized. Under recruited. Undrafted. You can understand why Fred VanVleet sees some of himself in James Robinson.
The connection between the Raptors point guard and the Jacksonville Jaguars rookie running back runs deeper than their respective scouting reports. Robinson, like VanVleet, is from Rockford, Ill., a slept-on city of 140,000 in the shadow of Chicago. They played for the same AAU basketball program, Rockford Pryme Tyme, Robinson an elite two-sport athlete while VanVleet stuck to basketball despite a legitimate knack for football in grade school. And if that isn’t enough, Robinson is a cousin of VanVleet’s partner, Shontai. They’ve known each other since VanVleet was in high school and catch up whenever VanVleet is back home in Rockford.
As Robinson solidifies himself as one of the breakout offensive rookies of the 2020 NFL season, it’s almost enough to turn a lapsed football fan into a potential Jaguars diehard.