Q+A: Lizz Robbins
A former KING Web Girl of the Year knows her hoops.
by Abe Schwadron / @abe_squad
Lizz Robbins was named KING Magazine’s first Web Girl of the Year in 2005, and it was then when she first picked up a SLAM Magazine, while at the offices at 1115 Broadway. These days, the self-proclaimed “sports enthusiast” is not only a loyal SLAM subscriber, but also a respected sports commentator with regular appearances on XM radio and SI.com podcasts, while still holding down a full-time day job as a project manager in Maryland. Earlier this week, SLAMonline caught up with Robbins via phone to talk about her beloved New York Knicks, the NBA free agent frenzy and all things hoops.
SLAM: How did you get into sports? Did you grow up playing?
Lizz Robbins: All boys, being the youngest and only girl, and one TV (laughs). So whatever they watched, I watched. I ended up really getting into it. As far as fandom, my brother was Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, and for football, my dad’s a Redskins fan and my mom’s a Cowboys fan, so all my brothers were Cowboys fans and I was the Redskins fan. And my mom actually played center for her high school basketball team and she met Oscar Robertson when he played in Cincinnati. That’s her favorite player of all time.
SLAM: How do you balance modeling with being so into sports?
LR: I don’t do [modeling] as much any more. I was the spokesmodel for Remy Martin and my contract ran out in 2009. I’ve always kind of written about sports in high school and college. I started doing a blog for some sites, like Bleacher Report, which got some buzz. So now I do a podcast for Sports Illustrated for fantasy football, and I do a weekly show on Sirius/XM on their sports package. I put most of my time into that. I have people that still want me to take pictures and get in front of the camera, and I may do it one day. But right now my focus is on doing sports and I also have a full-time job as a project manager.
SLAM: Are people surprised you know so much about sports? Was it hard to convince them you know what you’re talking about?
LR: Definitely hard. I get that strange look. It’s like I have to pull something out of the air, like, “Yeah, remember Jordan pushing off in ’98?” And then they’re like, “Oh, alright maybe she knows a little something.” Or, “She knows about the prevent defense.” So that kind of thing, where I have to pull something out of the air.
SLAM: So you’re a big Knicks fan, but you’re from the DC area?
LR: I’m a huge Patrick Ewing fan, a huge Georgetown fan. Well, I’m a Georgetown fan first, and then Patrick Ewing, growing up he became my favorite player. So I followed him to the Knicks. You can call it a superficial fandom (laughs). But even after he got traded to Seattle, I just stayed with the team. It was hard from 2004 to 2009 being a Knicks fan, and trying to defend the decisions and defend the team. It’s been very painful. I would say any Knicks fan that’s stuck with the team, they’re definitely true to their fandom. Because a lot of people left. I think this year, with the things that are happening, it’s really exciting. It’s kind of sad that Donnie Walsh is not going to be there—I actually liked a lot of the moves that he made. As long as Isiah’s not coming back, I’m good. All the signings they’re doing, with Tyson Chandler and Bibby and Baron Davis, I’m excited about it, but I still don’t think we have that piece to get to the next level. I think they’ll make the playoffs, maybe even make it to the second round. A lot of people are picking them to go to the Finals, I’m not there yet. I think the Miami Heat will go, and win this year. Last year I did an interview and they asked, “Are you picking the Heat?” and I said, “No, they won’t win this year, they still need to get that chemistry together.” But this year I picked them to win, before the lockout.
SLAM: Wait, Melo isn’t a big enough “piece” for the Knicks?
LR: Melo is definitely there. But we need some defense. The offense is there. If we can take that “D” out of D’Antoni’s name and get some defense in there (laughs)…Tyson Chandler brings some of that, the rookie, Iman Shumpert, he brings some of that possibly. I think we still need something else. I don’t think Baron Davis and Bibby are the answers. I wish we wouldn’t have let Chauncey Billups go, he was key. I was kinda bummed about that.
SLAM: Speaking of Chauncey and his new team, what was your reaction to Chris Paul ending up with the Clippers?
LR: I think it was a mess. I think it was bad PR for the NBA the way everything kind of went down. It’s kind of like, “You can’t take the good-looking sister to the prom, but you can take the sister out back in the doghouse.” But I think it’s going to be interesting, I watched the pre-season game [Lakers-Clippers] and it was like a regular season game. You could feel the intensity watching it. It’s definitely going to be an interesting year. Can’t wait to see CP pass that rock to Blake for the dunks, it’s going to be ridiculous. I’m excited on that end, but I would have liked to see him play with Kobe, that would have been awesome. And they looked a little legged that night, the Lakers did.
SLAM: Best guess on where Dwight Howard ends up?
LR: I can’t say the Knicks? (laughs) I see him going to the Nets, I see that finding it’s way to come true.
SLAM: So you’re picking the Heat this year. Where do you stand on LeBron?
LR: I like the Heat, well of course I didn’t like them in the ’90s, but that’s a different story (laughs). The whole hype thing, and the whole hate, I didn’t get that. I thought it was a little too much. Did he contribute to that? Absolutely. He gave some crumbs to the media and they turned it into a meal. And ran with it. To say he’s not a great player—take away your personal feelings, you can’t deny that he probably is the best player in the League. I do think if they kinda calm it down—I think the whole “five, six, seven championships,” it’s just like, “chill.” Or him saying he embraces the villain role, you’re not the villain, you’re not The Joker. I think if he focuses on what he needs to focus on, and I understand he worked out with Hakeem Olajuwon over the summer, and Hakeem was that quiet killer. Maybe he gave him some pointers to just tone it down and do what you do on the court.
SLAM: Who’s your pick in the West?
LR: Oklahoma City.
SLAM: You a Kevin Durant fan? He’s from DC, too.
LR: Yeah, he went to Montrose Christian. He’s a nice guy, I’ve actually met him before in the area, and I think he’s so dedicated. And he was almost there this year, I think he gets there this year. The way he was during the lockout, basketball literally did not stop for him. To have that kind of drive, he’ll be like Tebow. I don’t know if he’ll be “Tebowing,” but he’ll be like Tebow for the Thunder, to motivate his teammates to do better.
SLAM: The Knicks made the Finals last time we had a lockout, what are your memories from that year and do you think it can happen again?
LR: I definitely would love that. I wish we had Larry Johnson to hit a four-point play (laughs). That was great. A lot of people have been writing me and saying, “Hey, your Knicks will probably go to the Finals or win the championship.” I’m not there yet. Of course I’m going to support my team, but I’m also going to be realistic. Sometimes you have to step away from being a fan, and being a Redskins fan also, it’s hard.
SLAM: What’s your relationship with SLAM Magazine been like as a reader?
LR: When I got my subscription I didn’t really know what to expect. I have ESPN The Magazine, I have Sports Illustrated, where you get a little bit of everything. So to have a magazine just be about basketball, I wasn’t certain at first, but once I started reading it, it turned me on to names I probably wouldn’t have paid attention to, like a Harrison Barnes. You guys don’t just focus on the superstars, and not only men, you give women shine as well. I definitely respect that.
Lizz Robbins is a writer/model/actress and the 1st Spokesmodel for Remy Martin cognac. Lizz has appeared in King, Maxim and Jet Magazines as well as made TV appearances on “The Wire,” “The West Wing” and a reenactment on “America’s Most Wanted.” She has contributed sports blogs to BleacherReport.com and RotoExperts.com, she had her own blog “Robbins Nest” at KingMagazine.com. You can hear her weekly “Sports Package” every Saturday on Sirius/XM channel 46 at 6pm on “Ladies First” and weekly at Sport Illustrated.com (Fantasy Football Podcast). Follow Lizz on Twitter at @Lizzs_Lockeroom.