Nate Robinson

Nate Robinson's strut will be missed by many Bulls fans. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune / May 6, 2013)

When Ben Gordon left the Bulls for Detroit four summers ago, I likened watching him to riding a great roller coaster. Roller coaster guys won't take you on a journey. But they shake you and thrill you and give you a memory. I can think of many crummier ways to spend an afternoon than riding Shockwave.

I was crushed when Shockwave at Six Flags Great America was demolished in 2002, but like the departure of Ben Gordon, at least I'd had my fill.

The same can't be said for Nate Robinson. If Gordon was Shockwave, then Robinson was some random coaster installed as a temporary distraction from the park's premier ride being under construction after a debilitating track disaster. The park's management keeps hinting that the premier ride will be fixed in time for the summer ...

... only the summer wears on and the ride is still not ready, and meanwhile patrons are starting to appreciate the perks and character of this interim ride. It's short but thrilling, and its staff is unusually kind and helpful.

Incredibly, the ride becomes the centerpiece of one of your favorite days ever at the park, but then summer ends and some amusement park in Denver purchases your new favorite ride, and you never get to ride it again. The end.

That's how I'm feeling right now about Robinson's departure. It's not a feeling I expected. On the eve of the 2012-13 season, I was at a friend's NBA opening night party talking to my buddies and Bulls beat reporters Chris Cason and Bryan Crawford. I wasn't thrilled with the Robinson signing, but Cason and Crawford gave Robinson their full endorsement. I changed my tune.

Nine months later, I'm bummed Robinson's days with the Bulls are in the history books. SUPER bummed we don't get to see him suit up with Derrick Rose.

I'm happy for Robinson. He seems like a good guy, he had a great farewell tweet), and he played ball the Chicago way: with heart, fury, and talent. Nuggets fans will like him. Enjoy, Denver. You're in for a helluva ride.

Jack M Silverstein is a RedEye special contributor. @readjack

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